Legislation and Regulation

LEGISLATION AND REGULATION

Emergency Management Doctrine for Ontario

Introduction

As part of its commitment to effective and efficient emergency management, the Government of Ontario continues to move decisively to implement reforms consistent with internationally recommended practices. These reforms are based, in part, on the findings of emergency management reform studies in the post SARS, 9/11 and Katrina era.

At the heart of these reforms is the movement toward the adoption of emergency management programs based on a risk management approach and including activities in the five core components of emergency management: prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. The aim of these reforms is to ensure that a proactive and coordinated approach to managing emergencies is in place to reduce the significant risks faced by Ontario.

The implementation of emergency management programs will ultimately save lives and money, protect property, public health and the environment, maintain economic stability, and help assure the continuance of critical infrastructure. This will be accomplished by preventing some emergencies before they occur, lessening the frequency and potential impact of others, and by speeding the recovery process following an event. In short, the end result will be a Province comprised of safe, secure, and disaster resilient communities1.

As part of the reforms, Ontario requires provincial ministries and municipalities2 to develop, implement, and maintain emergency management programs and adopt standards for these programs through regulation. This requirement ensures that a consistent, accountable, and robust system of emergency management is established throughout the province.

In addition, these measures will be supported through the championing of an emergency management culture/public safety culture’ in order to make the protection of lives and property a continuing priority throughout the province. This ‘emergency management/public safety culture’ is fostered through activities such as public education that raise the profile of emergency management in Ontario.

The emergency management concept, as set out in this doctrine, is embedded in the hierarchy of documents necessary to implement the concept, including legislation, regulations, directives, policies, requirements, guidelines, plans and procedures (see Figure 1). Taken together, these documents provide a strategic, coherent and integrated approach to emergency management in Ontario and assist in developing federal, provincial and municipal strategies to reduce risk and enhance resilience within Ontario. These documents also ensure a common concept and common terminology. Each level of document in the hierarchy is examined in more detail in the following sections.

The main purpose of the Doctrine is to set out the overall framework for emergency management in the Province of Ontario in order to develop a common understanding of the concept. This, in turn, is meant to assist in the ongoing development and implementation of emergency management programs at the provincial and municipal levels, and in the establishment of linkages with other partners and stakeholders.

Specifically, the Doctrine will focus on defining the following elements: Emergency Management; Key Principles of Emergency Management for Ontario; Legislation; Regulations and Emergency Management Program Standards; Guidelines and Recommended Practices; Plans and Procedures; the Complementary Roles of the Province and Communities; and, the Role of Emergency Management Ontario.

This document was prepared by EMO with review and input from the Emergency Management Doctrine and Standards Committee (EMDSC) of Ontario. The Doctrine will be reviewed annually by EMO and the EMDSC to ensure it remains accurate, relevant, and continues to reflect the evolution of emergency management in Ontario and in other jurisdictions.

Figure 1: Hierarchy of Emergency Management Documents in Ontario

gure 1: Hierarchy of Emergency Management Documents in Ontario

Emergency Management

Emergency, as defined under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.E.9 (EMCPA or the Act), is a situation or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or a health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise. Although the focus of this definition is on the potential impacts to life and property, it is implicitly understood that major threats to social, environmental, political, and/or economic well being may also be considered emergencies. Disasters are widespread or very severe emergencies.

Emergencies are caused by hazards – conditions or processes that have the potential to cause harm or loss to people and property. Such emergencies may arise as a result of inadequate prevention, mitigation or preparedness measures, or new factors that could not have been known or incorporated during the hazard identification and risk assessment process (HIRA). In basic terms, the hazard (risk that is a threat) produces adverse consequences and the possibility of an emergency. The identification and understanding of hazards, therefore, is an important first step in building an effective emergency management program to protect public safety and build disaster-resilient communities. This first step promotes a systems-based examination of the hazard and its consequential effects.

Currently, the Province of Ontario has identified 37 types of hazards in its Provincial Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment Report, in which hazards are classified according to their general source: natural, technological, or human-caused.

Emergency management is defined as organized and comprehensive programs and activities taken to deal with actual or potential emergencies or disasters. It is based on a risk management approach and includes activities in five components: prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. These components are illustrated in Figure 2.

Prevention refers to the actions taken to prevent the emergency itself and mitigation refers to actions taken to reduce or eliminate the effects of an emergency. Prevention and mitigation measures can greatly diminish the need for response and recovery activities required for certain emergencies and may result in long-term, cost-effective reduction of risk. Prevention and mitigation measures are broadly classified as either structural or non-structural and include capital improvements, regulations, building codes and public education programs.

Preparedness refers to those measures taken prior to the emergency or disaster to ensure an effective response.

Figure 2: Components of Emergency Management

gure 2: Components of Emergency Management

Preparedness measures include plans, training, exercises, public education, alerting and notification systems, procedures, organization, infrastructure, standards, etc.

Response refers to measures taken to respond to an emergency. The aim of these measures is to ensure that a controlled, coordinated, and effective response is quickly undertaken at the outset of the emergency to minimize its impact on public safety.

Recovery refers to those measures taken to recover from an emergency or disaster. The aim of these measures is to assist individuals, businesses and communities to return to a state of normalcy. Recovery measures include environmental clean-up, return of evacuees, emergency financial assistance, critical incident stress counseling, etc.

A comprehensive emergency management program is one that incorporates a risk management approach and integrates activities in each of the five components of emergency management.

As all emergencies are essentially local in nature, the implementation of emergency management programs in Ontario (through prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery activities) begins at the municipal level.

Key Principles of Emergency Management for Ontario

The key principles in Ontario’s approach to emergency management are: Risk Management; Continuity of Operations/Business Continuity; and A System of Partnerships.

Risk Management Approach

In recent years, there has been a major conceptual shift in how people seek to cope with disasters from natural to human induced hazards. While humanitarian response capacities are vital and need continued attention, the focus on addressing risk underlines the recognition that human intervention designed to reduce the vulnerability of people and assets can reduce the impact of disasters. Risk management is a proactive process to address risks.

The adoption of a risk management approach shifts the focus to include the causes of risk rather than only the emergencies that may result from risk. This allows resources to be allocated more effectively in order to prevent or minimize losses.

Ontario requires municipalities and provincial ministries to develop and implement emergency management programs. This requirement ensures that a consistent, accountable, and robust system of emergency management is established and maintained throughout the province. Risk management is a key process when addressing government or /continuity of operations/ business continuity.

These measures are supported through the creation of a risk management culture. Activities, such as public education, raise the profile of emergency management in Ontario making the protection of lives and property a continuing priority throughout the province.

Adopting a risk management process:

  • Creates a greater understanding when dealing with risk issues;
  • Encourages a systems-based approach where the focus is on the causes of risk rather than the resulting emergency. This allows resources to be allocated effectively in order to prevent or minimize losses;
  • Evaluates the level of risk associated with various hazards and permits the setting of emergency management program priorities and opportunities for action;
  • Identifies risk reduction measures (prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery) that address specific identified risks;
  • Reduces risks in a continual process to promote assessment and evaluation of hazards; and
  • Focuses on the reduction of risk through the implementation of emergency management programs, resulting in improved public safety and public constituents.

The doctrine recognizes that different governments and organizations may, quite appropriately, use slightly different processes and terminology to achieve the same aims. The process, however, should be consistent with accepted international risk management principles, which include but are not limited to:

  • Establish context,
  • Identify risks,
  • Analyze risks,
  • Evaluate risks,
  • Treat/address risks,
  • Communicate and consult, and
  • Monitor and review.

It is important to emphasize that this process is ongoing and long-term. Risks and the measures put in-place to address them need to be routinely reviewed. Moreover, the measures to be implemented may be part of a long-term strategy extending over many years and involving many steps and many constituents.

A risk management approach provides a recognized, flexible and effective means to reduce risk. It has direct application to emergency management and results in a tailored emergency management program to reduce high-priority risks. Organizations using risk management processes are able to identify and exploit opportunities, make good decisions quickly, respond to and adapt to unexpected events and are better equipped to meet their objectives.

The implementation of emergency management programs, based upon risk management principles, will ultimately save lives and money, protect property and the environment, maintain economic stability and enhance public confidence in the government’s ability to uphold safety and security.

Continuity of Operations/Business Continuity

Governments at all levels provide a vast array of services to the public. Disruption of some of these services could potentially impact public safety and security. Therefore, governments must continue providing such critical services and/or limit their disruptions as a result of emergencies.

Continuity of Operations/Business Continuity is the component of the Emergency Management Program that ensures a government will be able to provide critical functions and services during an emergency. The Continuity of Operations/Business Continuity process provides a framework for the determination of functions and services that are time-sensitive and critical, and utilizes a risk management approach to assure the continuity of such critical functions/ services by identifying and assessing hazards, risks and the impact of potential disruptions; to develop viable mitigation, response and recovery strategies and plans; to earmark resources; to train personnel and to test and maintain plans. Continuity of Operations/Business Continuity should be an ongoing process that is supported by senior management, properly resourced, integrated into the government’s emergency management planning framework and reviewed for currency from time to time.

A System of Partnerships

If each community is made safer through the implementation of an emergency management program, the province as a whole is also made safer.

This key principle underlines the fact that the reduction of risks to public safety in the Ontario context depends on the participation of many partners fulfilling specific emergency management responsibilities. In Ontario, emergency management is organized through a loosely linked, vertical structure of individuals and organizations with emergency management roles and responsibilities including:

  • Individuals. Individuals are responsible for the safety, preparedness, and well being of themselves and their family. At a minimum, everyone should possess an awareness of the hazards that might affect him or her and be sufficiently prepared to deal with them. This should include being prepared to take care of themselves and their families for up to three days in the event of an emergency.
  • Municipalities. In order to protect the lives and property of their citizens, each municipality, along with its private sector and volunteer organization partners, develops and implements an emergency management program tailored to local needs. In many cases, the response capability of the municipality (i.e. fire, police, emergency medical services, public works, etc.) will be sufficient to deal with routine incidents.
  • Province. Designated provincial ministries develop, implement, and maintain emergency management programs for specific hazards and risks and/or emergency services that are complementary to the programs implemented by communities. During emergency response, a provincial ministry may implement its emergency response plan in support of the emergency. Emergency Management Ontario, as the overall provincial emergency management coordinator, is responsible for the promotion, development, implementation and maintenance of effective emergency management programs throughout Ontario, and for the coordination of these programs with the federal government. Emergency Management Ontario also provides advice and assistance for all on-going Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act requirements, maintains the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) on a 24/7 basis, and maintains the provincial emergency response plans including plans that ensure the continuity of provincial government services in an emergency. During emergencies where government services are affected, ministries are required to report any disruptions of critical government services to the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre Duty Officer (PEOC).
  • Federal Government. The federal government provides assistance to the provincial government when requested, and may take the lead during emergencies that clearly impact on federal jurisdiction, such as war or international crises.
  • Supply Chain Alliance. Emergency Management Ontario, on behalf of the Province created a Supply Chain and Logistics Coordination Alliance in partnership with private sector corporations. The purpose of the Alliance is to ensure the provision of strategic resources when and where they are required during large-scale emergencies. The Alliance involves members from all three levels of public sector government and the private sector representing all of the strategic sectors, including food and water, fuel, transportation and telecommunications. The Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) is the location where the coordination of all of the Alliance’s resources occurs during emergencies. Representatives from across the Alliance membership staff a Supply Chain and Logistics Coordination team in the PEOC. Strategic requirements are sent to the team from end-users and identified suppliers are linked to the requirements through the efforts of the team. The fulfilling of the requirement is dealt with directly between the end-user and the identified supplier.

The implementation of a full range of effective emergency management program measures to reduce a particular risk will often involve the participation of a wide range of partners. Those involved in reducing the public safety risks of a single municipality might include, for example: individual citizens, families, businesses, neighbouring municipalities, provincial organizations such as conservation authorities, and various federal government organizations (in addition to the municipality itself). These partners would be involved in a full range of measures such as providing emergency response assistance, implementing mitigation measures, conducting public education, implementing personal and home preparedness, etc. – all aimed at reducing risk.

The measures put in place to reduce the risk to public safety posed by nuclear facilities in Ontario are a good example of the intricate system of partners involved in the process. At the federal level, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), as the regulator of nuclear activities, ensures that preventive safety measures are implemented by the nuclear facility. The CNSC is also involved in emergency preparedness and response measures along with other federal organizations such as Public Safety Canada and Health Canada (with Health Canada taking the lead in the federal emergency response). At the provincial level, all ministries have roles and responsibilities involving the implementation of various prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery measures, and/or in supporting provincial emergency management. EMO is responsible for coordinating the provincial response to an off-site nuclear emergency, with the assistance of provincial ministries as required. Similarly, at the municipal level, a number of directly affected and supporting municipalities, as well as their organizations such as police, fire and emergency medical services have roles. And finally, schools, businesses, families, volunteer groups and individuals all have specific roles and responsibilities as part of an effort to reduce risk. For a nuclear emergency that does not extend beyond the site of a nuclear generating station, responsibility for a response rests with the nuclear operator.

As the above example makes clear, a reduction in risk depends on a system of partners at all levels, implementing a range of measures in concert with one another, according to their particular roles and responsibilities.

Emergency Management Programs

With the proclamation of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, Ontario experienced a fundamental shift in its concept for dealing with emergencies. Previously, the focus was on preparation of plans, covering mainly emergency preparedness and response arrangements. Now, however, the focus is on the development, implementation, and maintenance of emergency management programs, which are mandatory for Ontario communities and provincial ministries. The Act requires that these programs be the product of a risk management approach.

Emergency management program standards for both communities and provincial ministries are contained in regulations issued under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. These regulations set out the minimum specific elements required to build, over time, a full emergency management program.

Ministries fall into one of two program categories. All ministries are responsible for ensuring the continuity of their operations regardless of the type of emergency that occurs. Ministries not assigned special responsibility areas undertake only the Continuity of Operations/Business Continuity Program and comprise the first category. However, certain ministries, in addition to meeting their obligations for continuity of operations, have also been assigned special areas of responsibility (for specific types of emergencies or emergency services). These ministries undertake a Full Program and comprise the second category.

Ontario’s Critical Infrastructure Assurance

Critical infrastructure (CI) is defined as interdependent, interactive, interconnected networks of institutions, services, systems and processes that meet vital human needs, sustain the economy, protect public safety and security, and maintain continuity of and confidence in government.

Critical infrastructure assurance is the application of risk management and continuity of operations/business continuity management processes and techniques for the purpose of reducing the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure in both the physical and cyber realms by decreasing the frequency, duration and scope of disruption and facilitating response and recovery.

The Province of Ontario has developed the Ontario Critical Infrastructure Assurance Program (OCIAP), a province-wide program to identify Ontario’s critical systems – infrastructure, facilities, technologies, networks, assets, processes and services – to assess the interconnectedness and interdependencies of those critical systems – and to develop strategies to increase the resiliency of those critical systems.

The OCIAP recognizes that critical infrastructures are highly connected and interdependent, provincially, nationally and internationally. For example, because infrastructure is dependent on energy sources and common information technologies, problems can cascade through the infrastructure, thereby causing unexpected and increasingly serious failures of essential services. As the threats are ever changing and increasing in their scope and magnitude - from climate change to human-caused threats - so too are the vulnerabilities. Clearly, these interdependencies make Ontario’s infrastructure more vulnerable to disruption or destruction.

The province’s critical infrastructure assurance program uses a systems approach to identify vulnerabilities and to provide recommended practices for prevention and mitigation. It is a collaborative approach, which includes all levels of government and the private sector. It is a voluntary program, focusing on raising the resiliency of the province’s critical infrastructure and assuring continuance of services.

The basis for the critical infrastructure assurance program is the application of risk management principles. The program is based upon assessing the likelihood and the consequence of events from both natural and human-caused threats that have the potential to seriously disrupt or destroy essential elements or functions of critical infrastructure. Critical infrastructure assurance also includes the principles of continuity of operations/business continuity. The program improves the resiliency of critical infrastructure by allowing the continuance of functions through the effects of a threat.

Through the collaborative effort of government and the private sector, Ontario’s critical infrastructure will be more disaster resilient and citizens can be assured that services will be more durable during an adverse event.

Managing Emergencies or Planned Events

The following chart defines the available channels for the general flow of information during an emergency or planned event. It also reflects the general relationships that exist for the management of emergencies. It is not prescriptive or linear but depicts the various players that may be involved in any incident. Each incident may vary:

  • In a diffused incident, e.g., in a health emergency, there may be a specific site, or there may be multiple sites.
  • Also, Incident Command may be assumed at the municipal/ministry/provincial level, as dictated by the incident.

Please see Figure 3 on next page:

agram of flow of Emergency Information and General Emergency Management Relationships

Incident Management System

Ontario’s emergency response stakeholders, many of whom were represented on the Provincial Incident Management System Steering Committee, have agreed that there is a need to have a standardized incident management system that provides functional interoperability at all levels of emergency management.3 The Incident Management System (IMS) for Ontario is a standardized approach to emergency management encompassing personnel, facilities, equipment, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure. IMS is based on the understanding that in any and every incident, there are certain management functions (Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance & Administration) that must be carried out regardless of the number of persons who are available or involved, or the size and scope of the descriptors for an incident.

To maintain compatibility with other jurisdictions’ incident management initiatives, the IMS doctrine for Ontario is consistent with existing major systems such as the United States’ National Incident Management System (NIMS), the British Columbia Emergency Response Management System (BCERMS), and the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre’s Incident Command System. Ontario’s IMS is also consistent with international recommended practices contained in the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Emergency Management and Business Continuity Program Standard (CSA Z1600), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1561, Standard on Emergency Services Incident Management System, and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1600, Standard on Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs.

IMS in Ontario consists of a ‘tool-box’ of organizational components, and only those that are required need be established. The IMS organizational structure is replicated, at the appropriate scale, at each level of emergency management. However, each level will determine the staffing requirements, based on the nature and complexity of the incident.

Figure 4 on the next page illustrates the generic Ontario Provincial IMS organizational structure.

Figure 4: Generic Ontario Provincial IMS organizational structure

Notes on ‘Command’ based on the IMS Doctrine for Ontario:

  • There is only one Incident Command entity, per incident. The ‘Command’ element shown above becomes ‘Incident Command’ for the organization managing the incident.
  • The Command model may either be ‘Single’ or ‘Unified’.
  • Unified Command is a command model of IMS that may be used on occasions when incident decision-making is complex, and interdependent, and a single incident command cannot be established. Organizations work together through their designated members of the Unified Command team, to establish a common set of objectives and strategies and a single Incident Action Plan (IAP).
  • The Incident Commander (IC), or the Unified Command team is the entity or individual responsible for all incident activities, including the development of strategies and tactics and the ordering and the release of resources. The IC has overall authority and responsibility for conducting incident operations and is responsible for the management of all incident operations.
  • Other organizations in support of incident response will have their own internal Command. However, such Command will be in support of Incident Command.
  • Incident Command is not automatically restricted to any particular level of emergency management.
  • Based on the ‘tool-box’ approach, only those components that are required need be established.
  • With the exception of the IC position, the organizational structure is usually built from the bottom up, with supervisory positions inserted when span of control threatens to exceed established norms. However, when expansion is planned or envisaged, supervisory positions may be established first and sub-components added subsequently.

Legislation

Federal and provincial laws, and their associated Orders in Council and regulations, are the legal basis for all Emergency Management and Civil Protection Activities undertaken in the province of Ontario. Under the constitutional division of powers, the management of public order and public welfare emergencies (the bulk of actual emergencies) is led by the provinces, with support from the federal government, while the reverse is true for war and international emergencies.

In Ontario, the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act establishes the province’s legal basis and framework for managing those emergencies falling within the public order and public welfare spheres. It does this by defining the authority, responsibilities, and safeguards accorded to provincial ministries, communities, and to specific individual appointments (such as the Chief of Emergency Management Ontario). The Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act was proclaimed and came into full force and effect on June 30, 2006.

Key provisions in the Act provide for4:

  • The definition of ‘emergency’ and ‘emergency management program.’
  • The requirement that communities and provincial ministries develop and implement an emergency management program. In developing their emergency management programs, communities and ministries must conduct a hazard identification and risk assessment process and they must identify elements of critical infrastructure that might be affected by emergencies.
  • The assignment of responsibility for a specific type of emergency and/or emergency services to a ministry by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. This is done by Order in Council.
  • The authority for the head of council of a municipality to declare that an emergency exists in the municipality, to take any necessary action not contrary to law, and to implement the emergency response plan of the municipality.
  • The authority for the Premier of Ontario to declare that an emergency exists in any part of Ontario, to take any necessary action not contrary to law, and to implement any of the province’s emergency response plans. The Premier also has the authority to terminate both provincial and municipal emergency declarations.
  • The authority of the Lieutenant Governor in Council to declare emergencies and make broader emergency orders and the authority to delegate order-making authority to a Minister of the Crown or the Commissioner of Emergency Management.
  • The establishment of criteria for declaring provincial emergencies.
  • The appointment of a Chief, Emergency Management Ontario to be responsible for monitoring, coordinating and assisting in the promotion, development, implementation and maintenance of emergency management programs throughout Ontario. The Chief is also responsible for ensuring that these programs are coordinated with the programs of the Government of Canada.
  • The requirement that the Lieutenant Governor in Council formulate emergency plans for nuclear facilities.
  • The authority for the Minister, Community Safety and Correctional Services, to make regulations setting standards for the development and implementation of emergency management programs.

Under Order in Council 1157/2009, thirteen ministers of the Crown have been assigned responsibility for the preparation of emergency management programs and plans for a specific type of emergency and/or specific emergency services. The assignment of a special area of (emergency) responsibility to a Minister is done through an Order in Council (See Appendix A for the current Order in Council).

All ministers presiding over a ministry that has not been assigned a specific type of emergency will be required to develop, implement, and maintain a Continuity of Operations/ Business Continuity program focused on internal emergency management functions, continuity of operations and government services. Ministers will determine which agencies; boards and/or commissions will be designated. If so these agencies, boards and/or commissions will be regulated under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Regulations and Emergency Management Program Standards

Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services has been granted authority to make regulations setting standards for the development, implementation and maintenance of emergency management programs required by communities and provincial ministries. Regulation 380/04 has been issued under the Act for both provincial ministries and municipalities, setting out the required elements of an emergency management program. In the case of provincial ministries, they are also responsible for the development, implementation, and maintenance of a continuity of operations/business continuity plan as part of their emergency management program. EMO is given the corporate responsibility to ensure that these programs and plans are in place. The program standard for provincial ministries and municipalities is shown in Appendix B, the standard for Emergency Management Programs in Ontario.

Guidelines and Recommended Practices

Guidelines and Recommended Practices refer to documents issued by Emergency Management Ontario which further develop the emergency management concept in accordance with recognized international practices, or which provide specific guidance in the development and implementation of emergency management programs. Guidelines and Recommended Practices are advisory in nature.

The aim of these non-binding documents is both to provide rationale and background to the evolving emergency management concept in Ontario, and to facilitate program development and implementation through the provision of case studies, ‘example’ documents, and detailed step-by-step procedures and guidelines. In short, they are meant to provide guidance to communities and provincial ministries on proven, effective means to develop and implement emergency management programs. They will also be of interest to partners and stakeholders as they develop complementary emergency management programs.

Examples of these documents include the Community Emergency Management Program Handbook and the Guidelines for Provincial Ministry Emergency Management Programs in Ontario.

Plans and Procedures

Plans and procedures are documents that translate more general emergency management direction and guidance into specific methodologies to implement prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery measures.

In general, plans lay out aims, policies, basic concepts, organizational structures, roles and responsibilities.

Procedures, which are more detailed, outline the steps and specific information required to implement various operations such as notification, public alerting, traffic control, and emergency operations centre activation.

The Complementary Roles of the Provincial and Municipal Governments

Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the provincial and municipal governments have been given mutually supporting roles in emergency management, each level developing emergency management programs that address priority risks falling within their respective areas of jurisdiction.

At the provincial level of government, thirteen ministers of the Crown have been assigned responsibilities for a specific type of emergency and/or specific emergency services through an Order in Council (refer to Appendix A). War Emergencies and other Peacetime Emergencies not specifically assigned to another minister are the responsibility of the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Ministers assigned a specific type of emergency and/or responsibility for emergency services (and hence their ministries) must put in place an emergency management program and plans that: (i) address emergencies falling within their special responsibility areas and (ii) that also support a more general emergency response if such assistance is requested. On a more fundamental level, these ministries are required to provide provincial ‘leadership’ in the responsibility area, regardless of limitations in mandate.

Partners such as municipalities and the federal government that are essential to reducing risk in the responsibility area must be identified and included in the development of an effective ministry emergency management program. Ministries assigned specific types of emergencies, therefore, are responsible as much for providing overall strategic direction as for the commitment of resources within their control.

Municipalities, as the lowest tier of government, must have in place emergency management programs that address all of their priority risks. Where a provincial ministry has been assigned a special responsibility area that coincides with a priority risk at the municipal level, ministries will be involved, in varying degrees depending upon their mandate, in developing an emergency management program and plans to address that risk. This can mean supporting the emergency management program of a municipality (by assisting in emergency response if asked, for example) or it can mean leading the entire emergency management program (in the case of forest fires, for example). In developing their emergency management programs, therefore, ministries and municipalities need to consider and build on the complementary roles and mandates of one another.

The Role of Emergency Management Ontario

Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, Emergency Management Ontario, as the overall provincial emergency management organization is responsible for the promotion, development, implementation and maintenance of effective emergency management programs throughout Ontario, and for the coordination of these programs with the federal government. In fulfilling this special coordination role, EMO maintains the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre on a 24/7 basis; coordinates provincial emergency response, when required; provides advice and assistance to municipalities and ministries in all areas of emergency management; and, maintains several provincial-level emergency response and continuity of operations plans – e.g. the Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan, and the Provincial Emergency Response Plan.

The Provincial Emergency Response Plan is a plan that is used to coordinate overall provincial emergency response and outlines how EMO and the ministries respond to widespread or large-scale emergencies. It is supported by ministry emergency response plans that address assigned hazards (i.e. ministers assigned a specific type of emergency under OIC 1157/2009.

The Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan is a plan that is used to coordinate the overall provincial response to a nuclear emergency and outlines how individual ministries as well as designated municipalities will respond.

EMO provides advice and assistance to municipalities and ministries during the emergency response phase, and may coordinate the overall provincial response under one of the provincial-level plans.

In accordance with its mandate, EMO undertakes activities within the following broad areas:

  • Emergency Management Programs Activities (EMO is given the corporate responsibility to ensure that these programs are in place);
  • Ministry Emergency Management Support Activities (e.g. ministry emergency management training);
  • Municipal Emergency Management Support Activities (e.g. community emergency management coordinator training, standards, guidelines, recommended practices);
  • First Nation Emergency Management Support Activities (e.g. First Nation emergency management coordinator training and support, Joint Emergency Management Steering Committee ( JEMS))
  • Emergency Response Activities (e.g. coordination of the overall provincial emergency response, provision of advice and assistance to communities);
  • Continuity of Government Services Activities (e.g., continuity of operations plans and programs)
  • Provincial Emergency Management Program Activities (e.g. program standards, provincial emergency information, preparation of provincial emergency plans); and,
  • Organizational Support Activities (e.g. EMO Strategic Plan, administration)

Appendix A: Order in Council

scription: Order in Council

scription: Order in Council cont.

Description: Order in Council cont.

Appendix B: Emergency Management Program Standards

Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act

Ontario Regulation 380/04

No Amendments

Standards

Notice of Currency:*  This document is up to date.

*This notice is usually current to within two business days of accessing this document. For more current amendment information, see the Table of Regulations – Legislative History Overview.

This is the English version of a bilingual regulation.

Part I - Ministry Standards

Emergency management program co-ordinator

      1.  (1)  Every minister shall designate an employee of the ministry as the ministry’s emergency management program co-ordinator and another employee as an alternate.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 1 (1).

      (2)  The emergency management program co-ordinator and the alternate emergency management program co-ordinator shall complete the training that is required by the Chief, Emergency Management Ontario.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 1 (2).

      (3)  The emergency management program co-ordinator shall co-ordinate the development and implementation of the ministry’s emergency management program within the ministry and shall co-ordinate the ministry’s emergency management program in so far as possible with the emergency management programs of other ministries, of municipalities and of organizations outside government that are involved in emergency management.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 1 (3).

      (4)  The emergency management program co-ordinator shall report to the ministry’s emergency management program committee on his or her work under subsection (3).  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 1 (4).

Emergency management program committee

      2.  (1)  Every ministry shall have an emergency management program committee.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 2 (1).

      (2)  The committee shall be composed of,

  1. the ministry’s emergency management program co-ordinator;
  2. a senior ministry official appointed by the minister; and
  3. such ministry employees who are responsible for emergency management functions as may be appointed by the minister.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 2 (2).

      (3)  The senior ministry official appointed under clause (2) (b) shall be the chair of the committee.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 2 (3).

      (4)  The committee shall advise the minister on the development and implementation of the ministry’s emergency management program.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 2 (4).

      (5)  The committee shall conduct an annual review of the ministry’s emergency management program and shall make recommendations to the minister for its revision if necessary.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 2 (5).

Ministry action group

      3.  (1)  Every ministry shall have a ministry action group.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 3 (1).

      (2)  The group shall be composed of,

  1. each deputy minister of the ministry or their designates;
  2. the senior ministry official appointed to the ministry’s emergency management program committee under clause 2 (2) (b);
  3. the ministry’s emergency management program co-ordinator; and
  4. such other ministry employees as may be appointed by the minister.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 3 (2).

      (3)  The senior ministry official who is a member of the group pursuant to clause (2) (b) may also be a deputy minister’s designate to the group under clause (2) (a).  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 3 (3).

      (4)  The members of the group shall complete the annual training that is required by the Chief, Emergency Management Ontario.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 3 (4).

      (5)  The group shall direct the ministry’s response in an emergency, including the implementation of the ministry’s emergency plan.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 3 (5).

      (6)  The group shall develop procedures to govern its responsibilities in an emergency.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 3 (6).

      (7)  The group shall conduct an annual practice exercise for a simulated emergency incident in order to evaluate the ministry’s emergency plan and its own procedures.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 3 (7).

      (8)  If determined necessary as a result of the evaluation under subsection (7), the group shall revise its procedures and shall make recommendations to the minister for the revision of the ministry’s emergency plan.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 3 (8).

      (9)  A member of the group must be available to be contacted on a 24-hour a day basis seven days a week.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 3 (9).

      (10)  The group may at any time seek the advice and assistance of the following:

  1. Officials or employees of any ministry.
  2. Officials or employees of any other level of government who are involved in emergency management.
  3. Representatives of organizations outside government who are involved in emergency management.

Persons representing industries that may be involved in emergency management.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 3 (10).

Emergency operations centre

      4.  (1)  Every minister shall establish an emergency operations centre to be used by the ministry action group in an emergency.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 4 (1).

      (2)  The emergency operations centre must have appropriate technological and telecommunications systems to ensure effective communication in an emergency.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 4 (2).

Emergency information officer

      5.  (1)  Every minister shall designate an employee of the ministry as the ministry’s emergency information officer.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 5 (1).

      (2)  The emergency information officer shall act as the primary media and public contact for the ministry in an emergency.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 5 (2).

Ministry co-ordination

      6.  (1)  Despite subsections 1 (1), 2 (1), 3 (1), 4 (1) and 5 (1), two or three ministers whose ministries have not been assigned additional responsibility for a specific type of emergency under subsection 6 (1) of the Act may jointly do any one or more of the following:

  1. Designate one employee of one of the ministries as emergency management program co-ordinator for the ministries and one employee of one of the ministries as an alternate.
  2. Establish a joint emergency management program committee for the ministries.
  3. Establish a joint ministry action group for the ministries.
  4. Establish a joint emergency operations centre for the ministries.
  5. Designate one employee of one of the ministries as emergency information officer for the ministries.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 6 (1).

      (2)  Subsections 1 (2) to (4) apply with necessary modifications to the emergency management program co-ordinator and alternate emergency management program co-ordinator for the ministries.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 6 (2).

      (3)  The joint emergency management program committee shall be composed of,

  1. the ministries’ emergency management program co-ordinator;
  2. a senior official of one of the ministries appointed jointly by the ministers; and
  3. such employees of the ministries who are responsible for emergency management functions as may be appointed jointly by the ministers.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 6 (3).

      (4)  Subsections 2 (3) to (5) apply with necessary modifications to the joint emergency management program committee.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 6 (4).

      (5)  The joint ministry action group shall be composed of,

  1. each deputy minister of the ministries or their designates;
  2. the senior ministry official appointed to the joint emergency management program committee under clause (3) (b);
  3. the ministries’ emergency management program co-ordinator; and
  4. such other employees of the ministries as may be appointed jointly by the ministers.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 6 (5).

      (6)  Subsections 3 (3) to (10) apply with necessary modifications to the joint ministry action group.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 6 (6).

      (7)  Section 4 applies with necessary modifications to the joint emergency operations centre.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 6 (7).

      (8)  Subsection 5 (2) applies with necessary modifications to the emergency information officer for the ministries.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 6 (8).

      (9)  If two ministers designate one employee of one of the ministries as emergency management program co-ordinator for the ministries and one employee of one of the ministries as an alternate, but do not establish a joint emergency management program committee for the ministries or do not establish a joint ministry action group for the ministries, the ministries’ emergency management program co-ordinator shall serve on one of the ministries’ emergency management program committee or ministry action group, as the case may be, and the ministries’ alternate emergency management program co-ordinator shall serve on the other ministry’s emergency management program committee or ministry action group, as the case may be, as determined jointly by the ministers.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 6 (9).

      (10)  If three ministers designate one employee of one of the ministries as emergency management program co-ordinator for the ministries and one employee of one of the ministries as an alternate, but do not establish a joint emergency management program committee for the ministries or do not establish a joint ministry action group for the ministries, the ministers shall jointly appoint a second alternate emergency management program co-ordinator for the ministries and the ministries’ emergency management program co-ordinator, alternate and second alternate shall each serve on the emergency management program committee or ministry action group, as the case may be, for one of the ministries, as determined jointly by the ministers.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 6 (10).

Emergency plan

      7.  The emergency plan that a minister is required to formulate under subsection 6 (1) of the Act shall be composed of,

  1. a continuity of operations plan, as described in section 8 of this Regulation; and
  2. if the minister’s ministry has been assigned additional responsibility for a specific type of emergency under subsection 6 (1) of the Act, an emergency response plan for the specific type of emergency, as described in section 9 of this Regulation.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 7.

Continuity of operations plan

      8.  A continuity of operations plan shall,

  1. assign responsibilities to ministry employees, by position, for continuity planning and implementation;
  2. identify the critical functions and services for which the minister is responsible;
  3. assess the importance of the systems, infrastructure, assets and resources used in providing the critical functions and services for which the minister is responsible;
  4. establish priorities for the resumption of any services that are made temporarily unavailable by an emergency;
  5. contain a communications strategy;
  6. contain an information technology plan; and
  7. contain a strategy for the resumption of services.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 8.

Emergency response plan for specific types of emergencies

      9.  An emergency response plan for a specific type of emergency shall,

  1. assign responsibilities to ministry employees, by position, respecting implementation of the emergency response plan;
  2. set out the procedures for notifying the members of the ministry action group of the emergency;
  3. set out the procedures for alerting the public of the emergency and for keeping the public informed throughout the emergency; and
  4. be co-ordinated in so far as possible with the emergency response plans of other ministries.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 9.

Part II - Municipal Standards

Emergency management program co-ordinator

      10.  (1)  Every municipality shall designate an employee of the municipality or a member of the council as its emergency management program co-ordinator.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 10 (1).

      (2)  The emergency management program co-ordinator shall complete the training that is required by the Chief, Emergency Management Ontario.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 10 (2).

      (3)  The emergency management program co-ordinator shall co-ordinate the development and implementation of the municipality’s emergency management program within the municipality and shall co-ordinate the municipality’s emergency management program in so far as possible with the emergency management programs of other municipalities, of ministries of the Ontario government and of organizations outside government that are involved in emergency management.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 10 (3).

      (4)  The emergency management program co-ordinator shall report to the municipality’s emergency management program committee on his or her work under subsection (3).  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 10 (4).

Emergency management program committee

      11.  (1)  Every municipality shall have an emergency management program committee.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 11 (1).

      (2)  The committee shall be composed of,

  1. the municipality’s emergency management program co-ordinator;
  2. a senior municipal official appointed by the council;
  3. such members of the council, as may be appointed by the council;
  4. such municipal employees who are responsible for emergency management functions, as may be appointed by the council; and
  5. such other persons as may be appointed by the council.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 11 (2).

      (3)  The persons appointed under clause (2) (e) may only be,

  1. officials or employees of any level of government who are involved in emergency management;
  2. representatives of organizations outside government who are involved in emergency management; or
  3. persons representing industries that may be involved in emergency management.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 11 (3).

      (4)  The council shall appoint one of the members of the committee to be the chair of the committee.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 11 (4).

      (5)  The committee shall advise the council on the development and implementation of the municipality’s emergency management program.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 11 (5).

      (6)  The committee shall conduct an annual review of the municipality’s emergency management program and shall make recommendations to the council for its revision if necessary.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 11 (6).

Municipal emergency control group

      12.  (1)  Every municipality shall have a municipal emergency control group.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 12 (1).

      (2)  The emergency control group shall be composed of,

  1. such officials or employees of the municipality as may be appointed by the council; and
  2. such members of council as may be appointed by the council.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 12 (2).

      (3)  The members of the group shall complete the annual training that is required by the Chief, Emergency Management Ontario.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 12 (3).

      (4)  The group shall direct the municipality’s response in an emergency, including the implementation of the municipality’s emergency response plan.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 12 (4).

      (5)  The group shall develop procedures to govern its responsibilities in an emergency.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 12 (5).

      (6)  The group shall conduct an annual practice exercise for a simulated emergency incident in order to evaluate the municipality’s emergency response plan and its own procedures.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 12 (6).

      (7)  If determined necessary as a result of the evaluation under subsection (6), the group shall revise its procedures and shall make recommendations to the council for the revision of the municipality’s emergency response plan.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 12 (7).

      (8)  The group may at any time seek the advice and assistance of the following:

  1. Officials or employees of any level of government who are involved in emergency management.
  2. Representatives of organizations outside government who are involved in emergency management.

Persons representing industries that may be involved in emergency management.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 12 (8).

Emergency operations centre

      13.  (1)  Every municipality shall establish an emergency operations centre to be used by the municipal emergency control group in an emergency.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 13 (1).

      (2)  The emergency operations centre must have appropriate technological and telecommunications systems to ensure effective communication in an emergency.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 13 (2).

Emergency information officer

      14.  (1)  Every municipality shall designate an employee of the municipality as its emergency information officer.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 14 (1).

      (2)  The emergency information officer shall act as the primary media and public contact for the municipality in an emergency.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 14 (2).

Emergency response plan

      15.  (1)  The emergency plan that a municipality is required to formulate under subsection 3 (1) of the Act shall consist of an emergency response plan.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 15 (1).

      (2)  An emergency response plan shall,

         (a)    assign responsibilities to municipal employees, by position, respecting implementation of the emergency response plan; and

set out the procedures for notifying the members of the municipal emergency control group of the emergency.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 15 (2).

Part III - Standards for Designated Entities

Ministry standards apply to designated agencies, boards, commissions, branches

      16.  (1)  Part I applies with necessary modifications to an agency, board, commission or other branch of government designated by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 16 (1).

      (2)  For the purpose of subsection (1), a reference in Part I to a minister or ministry shall be read as a reference to the agency, board, commission or other branch of government and a reference to a deputy minister shall be read as a reference to the chair of the agency, board, commission or the head of the other branch of government.  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 16 (2).

      17.  Omitted (provides for coming into force of provisions of this Regulation).  O. Reg. 380/04, s. 17.

1 A political body/organization, within a defined boundary, having authority to adopt and enforce laws and provide services and leadership to its residents. This term includes upper and lower tier municipalities and First Nations.

2 A city, town or district having local government

3 For details on IMS please consult the IMS for Ontario Doctrine, available on EMO’s website.

4 The key provisions of the Act have been paraphrased for illustrative purposes only. Reference should be made to the full text of the entire Act for the purposes of interpretation.