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Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

The Issue

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Local first responders are on the frontlines when disaster strikes. We saw this during the tragic 2013 Lac-Mégantic train derailment, the 2014 floods in Calgary and the 2015 British Columba wildfires. They also help keep our communities safe from crime and national security threats.

This increasingly complex set of local responsibilities has led to unsustainable growth in policing and public safety costs for municipalities, often crowding out other essential services such as early intervention and crime prevention programs.

Canada's three orders of government share a responsibility for public safety and emergency preparedness. This collective work begins at the local level and must be enhanced through strengthened partnerships. Only by working together can we address the full range of public safety challenges in our communities, from rail safety and policing to extreme weather disasters.    

Working in partnership with the municipal sector, the federal government must:

  • Invest in local policing to reflect the increasingly complex nature of police work, such as expanded responsibilities for combatting terrorism, cybercrime and border security.
  • Play a larger role in expanding capacity to respond to emergencies, mitigate disasters and assess risk.
  • Take additional measures to improve rail safety and the transportation of dangerous goods.
  • Take into account the impact on municipal interests during federal assessment processes.
  • Improve road safety and encourage more use of active transportation by establishing a national standard of safety that protects vulnerable road users.


FCM Resources

Public Safety Rail Safety Federal Assessment Processes

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
The first 100 days of government 

Rail Safety

Federal Assessment Processes


Quick Facts


The percentage of Canada's policing costs paid by municipalities

Source: Statistics Canada, Police Resources in Canada, 2004-2014.


The percentage of Canadians who consider being able to live in a safe and secure environment one of the most important aspects of their lives.

Source: The Fondation Docteur Philippe-Pinel, The Key to Safer Municipalities, 2005.


The contribution of the cost of local emergency preparedness projects in Canada's cities and communities from now-discontinued federal emergency preparedness and urban search and rescue programs.

Source: Public Safety Canada, Summative Evaluation of the Joint Emergency Preparedness Program, 2008-2009

$2.5 billion

The increase in real terms of the municipal share of total policing from 2003 to 2013 (when controlling for inflation).

Source: Statistics Canada,  Police Resources in Canada 2004-2014.
Page Updated: 26/09/2016