"I am especially pleased to see plans to develop mental health recovery programs and supports for workers and people from affected communities, a wide-ranging emphasis on partnership and coordination with First Nations and Indigenous groups, as well as improvements to Emergency Social Services." — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Vancouver (08 Nov. 2018) —The British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) is welcoming the release of the Government's Action Plan: Responding to wildfire and flood risks by the provincial government, and applauds the actions outlined in the report to better prepare British Columbians for extreme wildfires and floods.
The union also notes that more will need to be done to mitigate the effects of what now appears to be the new normal in our province, and the BCGEU/NUPGE looks forward to seeing continued progress.
Important actions taken in partnership with First Nations and Indigenous people
"The plan details important actions, both taken and underway, to improve emergency preparedness and response to wildfires and floods in B.C.," says Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President.
"I am especially pleased to see plans to develop mental health recovery programs and supports for workers and people from affected communities, a wide-ranging emphasis on partnership and coordination with First Nations and Indigenous groups, as well as improvements to Emergency Social Services."
Valuable input from frontline workers
Earlier this year the BCGEU/NUPGE engaged its members working on the frontlines of these disasters to develop a submission to the B.C. government's fire review. The resulting May 2018 report from Chief Maureen Chapman and George Abbott, Addressing the New Normal: 21st Century Disaster Management in British Columbia, made 108 recommendations to improve disaster response practices.
The government's Action Plan responds to recommendations in the Abbot and Chapman Report and demonstrates progress, or plans being developed, to address many of the recommendations brought forward by the BCGEU/NUPGE's earlier submission.
However, more needs to be done on the part of government to strengthen risk response, such as building capacity within Emergency Management BC and the natural resource ministries, addressing the serious staff turnover issue in the BC Wildfire Service, and enhancing road maintenance. The union hopes to see additional issues such as these addressed in updates to the Action Plan moving forward.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE