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Protecting Canadian Communities from Wildfire

WINNIPEG, MB – The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company (Wawanesa) today announced the 11 recipients of their inaugural Community Wildfire Prevention Grants, which were developed in partnership with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) and FireSmartTM Canada. Through this grant program, Wawanesa will award $150,000 to communities this year.

“We are very grateful to be chosen as a recipient for Wawanesa’s Community Wildfire Prevention Grant,” said Denise Macdearmid from the Town of Gillam, Manitoba. “We will use the funds to purchase proper, safe equipment to complete a vegetation management project in our wildland urban interface as identified in our Community Wildfire Protection Plan. This will allow us to be pro-active and as prepared as possible while living in the boreal forest of Northern Manitoba.”

This year’s grant recipients are from communities across Canada, including Indigenous communities, rural municipalities, towns, residents’ associations, and local fire departments. The grants will go toward a range of wildfire prevention activities, such as rapid deployment sprinkler systems, home preparedness kits, wildfire buffer zones, public education, emergency evacuation planning, and more. For a complete list of recipient communities, please visit the Wildfire Prevention website here.

“Supporting community wildfire prevention is an important way we can help build a safer, more sustainable future for us all,” said Wayne Sharrah, Wawanesa’s Chief Claims & Operations Officer. “Given the community response to these grants, there is clearly a need for essential wildfire prevention measures. Wawanesa is proud to work with these communities, and we look forward to helping even more communities next year when we run the program again.”

“Wawanesa’s Community Wildfire Prevention Grants are an excellent way to get communities proactively involved in reducing their wildfire risk,” said Ray Ault, FireSmart™ Canada Director. “Citizen involvement is at the core of everything we do at FireSmart™ Canada, so we are very pleased to support this initiative and look forward to seeing how communities come together to make their areas more resilient to wildfire.”

“The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction is pleased and proud to have been asked to work with Wawanesa on this important initiative. Canada has seen a doubling in area burned since the 1970s and will see a further doubling, possibly a tripling, by the end of the century. This, coupled with Canada’s growing population, means more communities will be at risk from wildfire in the years ahead. Wawanesa’s Wildfire Grant Program will not only serve to make 11 Canadian communities more resilient to wildfire, but will also allow these communities to serve as models to others looking to take similar actions. We applaud Wawanesa for their leadership in this area,” said Paul Kovacs, Executive Director, ICLR.

About The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company 

The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, founded in 1896, is one of Canada’s largest mutual insurers, with over $4 billion in annual revenue and assets of $12 billion. Wawanesa Mutual, with executive offices in Winnipeg, is the parent company of Wawanesa General, which offers property and casualty insurance in California and Oregon; Wawanesa Life, which provides life insurance products and services throughout Canada; and Western Financial Group, which distributes personal and business insurance across Canada. Wawanesa proudly serves more than two million members in Canada and the United States. Wawanesa actively gives back to organizations that strengthen communities where it operates, donating well above internationally recognized benchmarks for excellence in corporate philanthropy. Learn more at

About The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR)

Canada’s leading disaster research institute, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR), was established by the insurance industry in 1997 as an independent, not-for-profit research and outreach institute to champion disaster resilience in Canada. ICLR is an international centre of excellence affiliated with Western University. The Institute develops and champions evidence-based disaster safety solutions that can be implemented by homeowners, businesses and governments to enhance their disaster resilience. Visit for more information.

About FireSmartTM Canada

FireSmartTM Canada was founded over 20 years ago to address common concerns about wildfire in the wildland urban interface. Since then, FireSmart Canada has led the development of resources and programs designed to empower the public and increase neighbourhood resilience to wildfire across Canada. FireSmart Canada operates under a mandate from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, and is supported by federal, provincial and territorial wildland fire management agencies and partners with municipal governments and the private sector. Firesmart, Intelli-feu and other associated marks are trademarks of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. For more information, visit

For more information:
Brad Hartle
Senior Communications Specialist, Media Relations
The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company
Phone: 1-844-946-6282

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