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Questions raised about plan to create Nova Scotia corps of emergency volunteers

HALIFAX — A former fire chief says he has concerns about Nova Scotia’s plan to create a volunteer corps of civilians to provide help during major emergencies. 

Terry Canning, a director with the Fire Service Association of Nova Scotia, told a legislative committee today that plans to establish the Nova Scotia Guard sound like a good idea, but he’s worried the province might be moving too fast.

As well, Canning says it remains unclear how the new body will affect shortages of resources during emergencies.

In March, Premier Tim Houston said the Nova Scotia Guard is needed because climate change has led to more frequent and intense natural disasters, including increasingly dangerous and damaging floods, hurricanes and wildfires.

Paul Mason, executive director of the province’s Emergency Management Office, told the committee that the emergency response model that has served Nova Scotia for decades needs an upgrade to deal with these increased risks.

But some volunteer search and rescue organizations have pushed back against the plan, saying they weren’t consulted about a new body of volunteers that could drain money and resources from existing volunteer groups.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2024.

The Canadian Press


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