Canada invests to make Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island more resilient to natural disasters

by ahnationtalk on December 1, 2022141 Views

From: Infrastructure Canada

District of Port Hardy, British Columbia, November 30, 2022— Today, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada and Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, announced more than $21.7 million in federal funding to help prevent floods in Malahat Nation and the Gwa’sala-ʼNakwaxda’xw Nations.

The Gwa’sala-ʼNakwaxda’xw Nations is receiving $12,200,000 to address recurring coastal and river flooding. As sea levels rise, this low-lying area is at risk of experiencing more severe and frequent floods – and this funding will help address that risk. Based on the selected preliminary design, this project will include the construction of a new planned beach, the building of a dike and the raising of the lands behind it, upgrades and raising of the existing bridge, and the rebuilding of lower-lying lands at a higher level to help prevent flooding in Tsulquate 4.

In addition, the Malahat Nation is receiving $9,504,572 to rehabilitate and modernize the aging Oliphant Lake dam. The construction of a rockfill addition downstream and a new spillway will control the release of water. The upgrades will manage reservoir levels and water output from Oliphant Lake to help protect the community and the lands downstream from flooding.

Making adaptation investments now will have major economy-wide benefits later. Expert research suggests that every dollar invested in prevention and preparation can save up to 15 dollars in costs. Adapting to climate change requires all orders of government, the private sector, and Canadians, to work together to build resilient communities and a stronger economy, to ensure Canadians continue to thrive into the future.

By investing in infrastructure, the Government of Canada is growing our country’s economy, increasing the resiliency of our communities, and improving the lives of Canadians.


“From wildfires to flooding, British Columbians have witnessed the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events like the atmospheric rivers last fall. Investments in disaster mitigation infrastructure provide important tools to manage flood risks. Our Government is committed to working with our partners in First Nation communities, the stewards of the lands and waters, to help protect lives, homes, and livelihoods.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada and Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

“Since being re-located to the Tsulquate Reserve from our traditional territories over 50 years ago, our Nation has lived with the risk of potential devastation to our only bridge/road access, and the 40% of our homes in the flood/tsunami zone. We would like to thank Canada and the DMAF program for recognizing this critical infrastructure shortage and for working together with us to ensure the long-term health and security of our People. The $12.2 million in funding for this project will greatly assist the Gwa’sala ‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations through critical infrastructure and safety upgrades along the Tsulquate River and coastline that is home to so many of our families, both now – and for generations to come.”

Chief Terry Walkus, Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw Nations

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada’s funding for this project comes from the Disaster and Mitigation Adaptation Fund (DMAF).
  • Federal funding is conditional on fulfilling all requirements related to consultation with Indigenous groups and/or environmental assessments.
  • On November 24th, 2022, the Government of Canada released Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy: Building Resilient Communities and a Strong Economy. It commits $1.6 billion in new federal funding to help address both immediate and future climate risks to Canadian communities.
  • As outlined in the Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan (GOCAAP), the federal plan to implement the National Adaptation Strategy’s goals, objectives and proposed targets, the Government of Canada will invest up to an additional $489.1 million through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) to help communities increase their resiliency against the effects of climate change.
  • Launched in 2018 with an initial investment of $2 billion, the DMAF helps communities build infrastructure they need to better withstand natural hazards such as floods, wildfires, earthquakes, and droughts. Through Budget 2021, the Government of Canada invested an additional $1.375 billion in the DMAF.

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Press Secretary and Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
(343) 574-8116

Gordon Black
Director, Kawatsi Consulting Management Services (KCMS)
Gwa’sala ‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154


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