While Ontario is a safe place to live and work, emergencies can happen anywhere and at anytime. Emergency management in Ontario consists of a system of mutually supportive partnerships coordinated by Emergency Management Ontario.
We all have a role to play in keeping the province safe. Individuals and families should be prepared to take care of themselves for at least 72 hours in the event of an emergency situation. To learn more about how to prepare your family or workplace, please visit the Be Prepared section of this website.
At the government level, all municipalities and provincial ministries are required to have an emergency management program. The requirements for these programs are set out in the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Emergency Management Ontario supports municipalities and ministries in implementing their programs by providing them with advice, assistance, guidelines, training, and other tools. Learn more about Ontario’s emergency management legislation and regulation.
Most incidents that do occur are handled at the local level by well-trained emergency responders. In the event of a larger incident, the head of council may decide to declare an emergency and assemble local officials at the municipal Emergency Operations Centre. This approach ensures a coordinated and effective strategic response.
To support municipalities in times of emergency, the province maintains an extensive emergency management capacity that is coordinated through the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC). Staffed at all times, the PEOC constantly monitors evolving situations inside and outside of Ontario to ensure key decision makers and provincial resources are able to respond as quickly as possible if required.
Emergency Management Ontario and the PEOC are directly supported by provincial ministries who are each assigned the responsibility of developing an emergency management program for specific hazards. For example, the Ministry of Natural Resources is responsible for floods and wildfire response, while the Ministry of the Environment is responsible for emergencies related to water quality. During an emergency, the PEOC ensures that the response to any event is coordinated in support of the lead ministry.
During large-scale emergencies, the premier and cabinet may declare a provincial emergency and make special emergency orders to protect public safety.
If the province requires specialized or large-scale assistance from the federal government, it will be requested through Emergency Management Ontario.