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This article was published 22/6/2012 (2767 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA — A federal fund that helped municipalities buy equipment to prepare for natural disasters and other emergencies has been quietly canned.
The Joint Emergency Preparedness Program will be eliminated in 2013, after more than three decades of existence. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is also mothballing the Canadian Emergency Management College.
"It's had a significant role to play," said Manitoba Infrastructure Minister Steve Ashton.
He said the province is concerned about the loss of the program and the impact it will have on the ability of communities to meet the needs of their residents in times of trouble. The program funded equipment, urban search and rescue and critical infrastructure projects at the municipal level.
The Public Safety Canada website says the program was intended to "enhance the national capacity to respond to all types of emergencies and to enhance the resiliency of critical infrastructure."
Toews's spokeswoman Julie Carmichael said Thursday the program has outlived its mandate.
"At this point, the capacity has been enhanced and provinces are equipped to respond to their jurisdictional responsibility of emergency management," she said.
The program has spent more than $170 million since 1980. Manitoba municipalities have received $4.6 million in the last decade. Manitoba is to get $130,000 in 2012/13.
Most of the money goes to buy equipment to help municipalities defend against such events as floods and forest fires.
Ashton said the college helped jurisdictions learn from each other and create national standards for emergency preparedness.
The cut wasn't not mentioned in the budget, however it was noted in a memo from assistant deputy minister Gina Wilson. Provincial ministers discussed the cut at a recent joint meeting.
The memo says the cuts "will result in a leaner, more efficient and effective federal government engaged in the delivery of its core business areas, which these two programs are outside of."
A 2008 evaluation of the program concluded there is a need for the federal government to contribute to emergency management at the provincial and federal levels and the absence of JEPP would "significantly and negatively" impact emergency preparedness at the community level.