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PWRDF launches in-Canada Emergency Response Fund

(left to right) PWRDF has worked with dioceses to respond to wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta., and Lytton, B.C., as well as hurricanes in the Atlantic provinces.

August 18, 2023

By Janice Biehn

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In this year of unprecedented wildfires from coast to coast, PWRDF is establishing a fund specifically for in-Canada emergency response.

This is true to our roots. PWRDF was born in 1958 out of a compelling desire from Anglicans to offer assistance to families in the wake of a mine disaster in Springhill, Nova Scotia.

In recent years, Canada has experienced an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes and floods, affecting thousands of families and individuals. Some communities have been particularly devastated. Time and time again, Anglicans have generously offered their financial support through PWRDF.

Currently, PWRDF accepts donations when a disaster happens, then works with the dioceses affected by the emergency to disburse the funds. This new fund will allow us to respond quickly when a diocese asks us for support, rather than wait to raise funds for individual disasters. Read about our recent response to Hurricane Fiona with the Diocese of Nova Scotia/PEI.

Parishes have expertise in outreach, information sharing and dissemination, volunteer engagement as well as real-time awareness of their communities. Churches know where and how to reach the most vulnerable, those overlooked by others. Clergy and parishioners may be some of the first responders in an emergency, and they are often among those who will still be there during mid- to longer-term recovery activities.

While we cannot respond to every emergency in Canada, we consider the severity and impact of the situation, response of other agencies including the government, availability of insurance coverage, and the extent to which additional support is needed. We look to fill gaps not covered by others, avoiding duplication of services.

Dioceses can access the new In-Canada Emergency Fund by requesting short-, medium- and longer-term support. This could include emergency accommodations, gift cards to purchase food, water and essentials, counselling and post-trauma supports, or locally identified long-term recovery activities to help rebuild community assets and increase community resilience.

Together, we can make a significant impact in the lives of people in Canada affected by disasters, offering solidarity and hope for those who have lost so much. For more information about how PWRDF responds to emergencies in Canada, visit

How you can help

You can donate to directly to the In-Canada Emergency fund at any time. You can also mail a cheque to PWRDF at 80 Hayden Street, 3rd floor, Toronto, ON, M4Y 3G2. Please indicate In-Canada Emergency in the memo field. You may also donate during business hours by calling 416-822-9083 (or leave a message toll-free at 1-866-308-7973) and we will return your call.