moved for leave to introduce Bill C-272, An Act to amend the Statistics Act (fire and emergency response statistics).
Mr. Speaker, once again, I would like to thank the seconder, the hard-working member for Port Moody—Coquitlam.
This is a bill that would require Statistics Canada to collect better data on fire and emergency response.
This month's catastrophic wildfire in Alberta reminds us that more needs to be done to plan and prepare for fire emergencies across Canada. We can and should learn from this tragedy, and others, to better equip our first responders for inevitable future fires.
I began drafting this legislation last Parliament at the request of and with consultation of Canadian firefighters. At its core, this bill would establish a process of creating a national data repository so that firefighters across Canada can access information not otherwise available to them.
Firefighters have told me that modern materials, chemicals, and building construction techniques are changing the way that fires behave and are fought. We need this data so that firefighters across the country are not siloed.
On May 9, Fort McMurray Fire Chief Darby Allen told Canadians that “This [fire] is rewriting the book...the way it behaved.” He said that we need to rewrite our formulas on how we fight them.
Those words of Fire Chief Allen underscore how urgent it is for governments to re-examine our approach to fire and wildfire management. With fire seasons expected to get worse over the coming years, this bill would help to lay the ground for better planning by providing firefighters with data collection.
Finally, it would require Statistics Canada to collect data and publish a yearly report on fire events, including the total number of forest fires, monetary losses, the number of deaths and injuries, the number of fires intentionally set, the number of fire emergency responses by department, and subject matter of response calls.
In my frequent conversations with firefighters, I have often heard concerns about the lack of data available—
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)