Emergency response process during the COVID-19 pandemic
This is how responsibilities and decision-making are shared when First Nations ask for additional support and resources to respond to on-reserve emergencies, such as COVID-19.
Step 1: First Nation chief and council put their community emergency response plan in motion.
Step 2: If a First Nation needs more support than they are able to provide themselves, the chief contacts one of the following:
- Indigenous Services Canada Regional Office, which includes:
- Regional Operations
- First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB); in British Columbia, First Nations Health Authority (FNHA)
- provincial or territorial emergency response office, or Canadian Red Cross (CRC), depending on the government or organization's emergency management agreement
If help is being provided by the ISC Regional Office:
- The office will look at the emergency and proposed response with the First Nation, province or territory and Public Safety Canada Regional Office
- the office will let ISC headquarters know about the emergency status and steps being taken to address the emergency
- ISC headquarters will notify the Government Operations Centre, ISC senior management, and any other related partners (federal, provincial, territorial and non-governmental organizations)
- regional nurses and health staff activate plans, processes and practices to help protect First Nation members
If help is being provided by a province, territory or CRC the emergency is reviewed and the CRC responds as per their emergency management agreement with ISC.
If additional federal assistance is needed, the province, territory, or CRC will contact the ISC Regional Office and Public Safety Canada Regional Office.
Step 3: If additional federal support is needed:
- ISC headquarters will bring together partners as needed, such as the Public Health Agency of Canada, which can provide significant public health advice
- ISC Regional Office will contact the regional office at Public Safety Canada, who will discuss with the necessary federal, provincial, territorial departments, First Nations partners, companies and non-governmental organizations
- Public Safety Canada will work with ISC and regional emergency responders, such as a province, territory or the Canadian Red Cross
Step 4: If a resolution is not possible at the regional level, a Request For Assistance (RFA) is sent to Government Operations Centre for a response.
- The Government Operations Centre will seek help from other partners, which may include the Canadian Armed Forces
Whole of government response
Throughout the entire emergency process:
- ISC Regional Office watches the situation and stays in contact with First Nation leadership and all relevant provincial, territorial, and federal partners
- monitoring continues until the First Nation returns to pre-emergency condition
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