National Society

Sharonya Sekhar
Policy Advisor, International Operations
Canadian Red Cross

Peer to peer exchange (e.g. with other governments and / or National Society)

The Canadian Red Cross recognizes the ongoing engagement of the Canadian government in the promotion of International Disaster Law (IDL) guidelines both in Canada and globally. The Canadian Red Cross participated in the IFRC/Australian Red Cross co-hosted Asia Pacific Disaster Law Field School in Australia in April 2017, where National Societies from South East Asia and the Pacific Regions, along with their corresponding Public Authority participants immersed themselves in key international and regional legal and policy frameworks for disaster risk management, utilizing global tools such as the IDRL Guidelines and the Checklist on Law and Disaster risk Reduction, Minimum Standard Commitments to Gender and Diversity in Emergency Programming for scenario based application, and sharing experiences around best practice of national and local level implementation of law and policy. The Canadian Red Cross acknowledges the support of Canada as a funder of this field school and looks forward to engaging with the Canadian government to apply these frameworks, guidelines and tools to the Canadian domestic context.

Research project

The Canadian Red Cross, in support of the Canadian government, completed a research project and produced a report on the Legal Barriers to Humanitarian Intervention in National Disasters. This report aims to help prepare humanitarian organizations prior to humanitarian intervention in a natural disaster as well as serve as a guide to governments and courts on the steps that can be taken to improve health interventions in natural disaster response. The report highlights that by taking certain proactive steps, and with government support, humanitarian organizations can reduce the impact of these legal barriers in future health interventions. Governments and the judiciary are also encouraged to use this report when developing laws, policies or jurisprudence in the future that may impact the humanitarian response to natural disaster emergencies with the end goal of further supporting the humanitarian efforts of domestic and international organizations.

Mainstream DRR across contexts and sectors, Engagement and contribution in national/local DRR platforms / Participation et contribution aux plateformes nationales/locales de réduction des risques de catastrophe / Participación y contribución en plataformas nacionales y locales para la reducción del riesgo de desastre, Support the development and/or Implementation of national DRR plan/strategy, Public awareness and public education , NS response and preparedness (contingency plans, standard operating procedures, pre-disaster meetings, disaster preparedness stocks), Disaster preparedness and contingency policies, plans and programmes, Preposition disaster preparedness stocks, Training & simulation drills, Psychosocial support and mental health services, Livelihoods support

In May 2016, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Canadian Red Cross, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) detailing how the organizations will continue to work together on matters of emergency management and disaster risk reduction. This MOU details how Public Safety Canada and the CRC will collaborate to support Canada’s commitments under the United Nations 2015-30 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and to advance implementation of resolutions endorsed by Canada at the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (2015).

CRC has engaged in workshops and roundtable discussions which contributed to updating the Emergency Management Framework for Canada, the third edition. The Framework consolidates Federal-Provincial-Territorial collaboration relating to emergency management. In particular, it ensures that the measures put forward by governments are cohesive. The revised Framework aligns with the principles of key international agreements such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the Paris Agreement on climate change. It also reflects the ever-changing emergency management environment; reinforces an approach focused on all disaster risks; makes linkages to climate change and sustainability; and recognizes the need for all areas of society to work together to enhance resilience.

Many of the DRR and resiliency concepts have also been applied by the Canadian Red Cross in support of Public Authority responses to major disasters in Canada. For example, following the forest fires in Fort McMurray, Alberta in May 2016. The Canadian Red Cross raised more than $320 million and has supported more than 65,000 people with traditional relief assistance using Funds Transfer programing, good distribution and individualized services. Funds were also allocated to provide assistance for a range of recovery activities including support for annual resiliency activities and public artwork; support for residents in the most impacted neighbourhoods including playground restoration; support for risk reduction through the Fire Smart program; recovery programming for youth in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo; psychosocial workshops and education. The Canadian Red Cross also allocated further funds to support community groups and initiatives as well as small businesses to assist with livelihoods recovery.

In preparation for large scale disasters throughout Canada, the Canadian Red Cross in partnership with Federal, Provincial, Territorial and Local Governments have pre-positioned supplies throughout the country including 25,000 cots, 50,000 blankets, 30,000 hygiene kits.

CRC has assembled a group of First Aid stakeholders from all the provinces and territories across the country to allow for a conversation around First Aid regulations and Creating Safe Environments through First Aid Education. One of the topics of discussion is around the legal aspects of First Aid, during which stakeholders share commonalities, challenges and opportunities. Furthermore, we have a relationship with Workplace Occupational Health and Safety authorities across the country that is framed as a partnership. We are committed to support these groups by co-authoring studies or recommendations that help create safer communities.

As one of the authors of the IFRC First Aid Guidelines, the CRC has taken a leadership role in helping to disseminate these guidelines to all training Agencies and the Authorities with jurisdiction across Canada through our “Consensus on First Aid science” task force.

The CRC is currently co-leading a process for establishing a National Set of First Aid Education Competencies with the Canadian Standards Association. This new standard will greatly enable jurisdictions to implement a consistent and objective approach to workplace first aid program approvals, and integration into legislation.