Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Emergency Management Framework for Ontario

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK FOR ONTARIO

Emergency Management Framework for Ontario

Emergency Management Ontario

Ministry of the Solicitor General

October 2021

Table of Contents

Approval

Office of the Chief, Emergency Management, Ministry of the Solicitor General. APPROVAL. Emergency Management Framework for Ontario. By affixing my signature below, I hereby approve this document: signed by Teepu Khawja, Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief, Emergency Management.

Executive Summary

Emergency Management in Ontario reflects the five components of emergency management, which are prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery and is influenced by various measures. Some measures are embedded in core legislated emergency management programs, and some measures that influence emergency management may also be legislated, but do not fall under the core emergency management programs. Other measures are considered a part of or support emergency management because they are best practices, and/or are embedded in agreements, guidelines and plans for managing emergencies.

By legislation, Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) is authorized to assist, monitor and to the extent possible coordinate the development of emergency management plans by the responsible parties. The strength of emergency management in Ontario is reflected by the development, implementation and maintenance of mandatory emergency management programs, as well as other programs and measures that influence and support emergency management in Ontario. The responsibility of supporting these programs and measures is shared across ministries, the broader public sector, municipalities, First Nations communities, federal government departments as well as private, volunteer, and non-governmental organizations. As a result, the plans and measures which ensure proper emergency management in Ontario are spread across a variety of legislations, agreements and many other documents.

This document, named the Emergency Management Framework for Ontario, brings together all these EM arrangements into one simple to use reference document. The Framework provides an overview of these measures while offering links and references to where additional details may be found. It is hoped that in this way, the Emergency Management Framework for Ontario provides an outline of how emergencies are managed in the province that is complete enough for a quick review by decision-makers and casual reviewers. At the same time, it offers guidance and links to where comprehensive documentation and plans may be found when deeper research and understanding is required.

Introduction

An emergency is defined as a situation or impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise.[1] Emergency management is defined as organized activities undertaken to prevent, mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from actual or potential emergencies.[2]

Emergency Management Ontario is dedicated in its efforts to work with partners by supporting, monitoring, and coordinating where possible, to ensure an effective and efficient emergency management program is in place in order to protect life, property, infrastructure, and the environment, and to maintain continuity of operations and services. As part of its emergency management program, EMO strives to develop and implement evolving and advanced strategies that are founded in international best practices and recommendations.

Purpose

The Emergency Management Framework for Ontario is intended to provide a straightforward overview of how Emergency Management Ontario approaches emergency management. The concepts and principles outlined in this framework serve to promote an understanding of the emergency management activities and initiatives undertaken in the province.

When implemented, emergency management programs ultimately save lives, protect property, public health and the environment, maintain economic stability, and help ensure the continuance of critical infrastructure and services. This is accomplished by preventing some emergencies before they occur, lessening the frequency and potential impact of others, preparing for and then responding to occurrences, and by speeding the recovery process as well as trying to recover to a better standard following an event. Modern, up-to-date emergency managements programs can help build safe, secure and resilient communities across Ontario.

The Role of Emergency Management Ontario

Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), Emergency Management Ontario (EMO), a division of the Ministry of the Solicitor General is the organization mandated to monitor, coordinate, and assist with the development and implementation of emergency management programs in Ontario, and for ensuring the coordination of these programs with the federal government. This special coordination role includes, but is not limited to, the following responsibilities:

  • Maintain the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Coordinate provincial emergency response and recovery, when required.
  • Provide advice and assistance to communities[3] and ministries in all areas of emergency management which is accomplished by:
  • Manage and operate the Alert Ready emergency alerting system in Ontario.
  • Maintain several provincial-level emergency response and continuity of operations plans.

Overview of Emergency Management in Ontario

The pie chart below (see Figure 1) is a representation of emergency management in Ontario. All 'slices' may appear equal in size and value, and while they are all required to cover the entirety of emergency management within the province, the resources invested in their development may vary and are program-dependent.

The vision, mission and values, principles of emergency management, and components of emergency management set the foundation for the creation and implementation of emergency management programs and guide the response to emergencies. Governance set out in the EMCPA provides accountability, strategic direction, and leadership for emergency management programs and responses to emergencies. Stakeholders are the formal and informal people/groups involved in emergency management in Ontario. The emergency management strategy lists goals and objectives that Emergency Management Ontario strives to achieve.

Figure 1: Representation of emergency management in Ontario.
Emergency Management in Ontario is represented by seven "Pie Slice." The slices include Vision, Mission and Values, Principles of EM, Components of EM, EM Programs, Governance, Stakeholders and EM Strategy.

Vision, Mission and Values

The vision for emergency management in Ontario reflects on the overall intention of EM programs. The mission supports the vision and serves to communicate strategic goals, activities and direction to stakeholders. The values reflect the core guiding principles that direct decision-making and establish the ideals for assessing EM actions within the programs.

Vision

A safe, secure and resilient Ontario.

Mission

Coordination, development and implementation of prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery strategies to maximize the safety, security and resiliency of Ontario through effective partnerships with diverse communities.

Values

Teamwork, excellence, diversity, integrity, accountability, and relationships.

Principles of Emergency Management

Emergency management principles are common rules or relationships that are ideally applied across all emergency management areas and programs. The universal application of emergency management principles across Ontario will ensure consistent and cohesive emergency management programs, and guide decisions and actions through the implementation of policies, strategies, plans, and procedures.

The key principles in Ontario's approach to emergency management are:

  • Flexibility
  • Risk and consequence based
  • Comprehensive
  • Leadership and partnerships
  • Interoperability
  • Continuous improvement.

Flexibility

This approach recognizes that there are different types of emergencies within the province and identifies the most appropriate method of handling each situation. A flexible approach means that emergencies can be handled either from the 'bottom-up' or from the 'top-down', or a combination of both, depending on the nature of the emergency.

The graduated or 'bottom-up' approach is the most common approach in the province. Preparing for and responding to an emergency often begins with individuals and families. An emergency may escalate beyond the capabilities of individuals and families to the extent of requiring the involvement of their community. The impact of some emergencies can, however, exceed the capacity of available resources within a community. When required, the Ontario government, would coordinate and/or provide assistance. If an emergency response requires resources beyond provincial capabilities, Ontario may seek assistance from the federal government.

The 'top-down' approach is used in some circumstances in Ontario where management accountabilities have not been delegated by the province. This is particularly the case with respect to the management of nuclear and pandemic types of emergencies. In these types of emergencies, the top-down approach is still highly dependent on the emergency management capabilities among individuals and communities. It is important for the province to be clear about its expectations, as it is for individuals and communities to be knowledgeable about what is expected of them in all aspects of managing these emergencies. The 'top-down' approach does not necessarily mean an emergency occurred at a federal or provincial level, rather, that the management of decisions such as emergency orders or life safety measures are communicated from the federal or provincial governments to municipalities and individuals. Figure 2 demonstrates that emergencies can be handled from the 'bottom-up' or the 'top-down' depending on the nature of the emergency.

Figure 2: Demonstrates that emergencies can be handled from the 'bottom up' or the 'top-down' depending on the nature of the emergency.
This figure demonstrates that emergencies can be handled from the 'bottom-up' or the 'top-down' depending on the nature of the emergency. The levels included starting from the bottom include: Individual, Local Level, Provincial Level and Federal Level. Requests for assistance may be escalated to other levels of government as required. Emergency orders and/or life safety measures may be communicated to other levels of government and individuals, where appropriate jurisdiction exists.

Both approaches recognize the various roles and responsibilities of individuals and families as well as members of the emergency responder community and their leadership.

Risk and Consequence Based

The identification and understanding of hazards through a hazard identification and risk assessment process are important first steps in building an effective emergency management program that protects public safety and builds disaster-resilient communities. The results of the hazard identification and risk assessment prioritizes the hazards that are most likely, and/or could have the greatest consequences to a community. This allows emergency managers to prepare for and properly allocate resources towards addressing these risks.

In addition to identifying risks, it is essential that the potential consequences or impacts of these risks are identified and addressed.

Comprehensive

Comprehensive refers to emergency management programs that have fully incorporated the following:

  • Components of emergency management (Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery).
  • Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment.
  • Critical Infrastructure Assurance.
  • Continuity of Operations Planning.

A comprehensive emergency management program integrates prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery into the program's activities. It is also based on the results of a hazard identification and risk assessment, while using a risk-based approach to planning. To be comprehensive, emergency management programs should also incorporate Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP) to ensure the delivery of time-critical functions and services in an emergency. The process includes the identification of time-critical functions and services using a risk management approach. A comprehensive emergency management program should also identify and ensure the preservation and continuation of critical infrastructure. Figure 3 on the next page illustrates a comprehensive emergency management program.

Figure 3: The five components of emergency management represented within a comprehensive emergency management program.
This figure illustrates a comprehensive EM program which includes the five overlapping components of EM which are Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery as well as Continuity of Operation Planning, Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment and Critical Infrastructure Assurance. Comprehensive EM programs are EM programs built to manage emergencies and Continuity of Operations issues, supported by dependable critical infrastructure, encompassing five components of EM, and built on the results of a hazard identification and risk assessment.

Leadership and Partnerships

Partnerships are important components in preventing, mitigating, preparing for, responding to and recovering from an emergency while maintain COOP. Consistent and attentive leadership provides direction, oversight, authority, and decision-making. Effective leadership also helps ensure that all partners and stakeholders collaborate and coordinate in a transparent manner. Collaboration and coordination amongst emergency management partners and stakeholders results in the most effective use of emergency management resources and actions.

Interoperability

Interoperability is the ability of different systems, organizations, personnel, and equipment to function well together. To ensure interoperability, governance structures and procedures must be in place to manage agreements between organizations and communities to allow for coordinated emergency management activities. Through standardization, common practices and terminology, interoperability allows organizations to operate, share information and communicate effectively together, preventing confusion. Interoperability improves public and responder safety and improves efficiency in responses that range from daily operations to large-scale incidents.

Continuous Improvement

In order to advance and improve emergency management practices and processes, opportunities to identify lessons-learned and best practices should be undertaken regularly. These opportunities can include reviewing after-action reports from exercises or real emergencies, internal and external reviews, inquiries, and academic literature. The lessons-learned and information gathered should be used to inform corrective action and enhance practices, policies, processes and procedures to continuously improve emergency management in Ontario.

Components of Emergency Management

Emergency management is compromised of the following five interdependent foundational components: Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. These five components of emergency management are implemented by all EM practitioners and organizations in Ontario to ensure a safe, secure and resilient Ontario.

These five components may be implemented in sequence or at the same time, but they are not independent of each other. Under most circumstances the components overlap as emergency management activities frequently fall under more than one component, and the boundaries between components are rarely distinct. Figure 4 demonstrates the components as equal and overlapping, but their application and implementation may vary depending on program needs.

Figure 4: The five components of emergency management.
This figure demonstrates the five components of EM which are Prevention, Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery are equal value and overlapping.

Prevention

Prevention includes actions taken to stop an emergency or disaster from occurring. Such actions may include legislative controls, zoning restrictions, improved operating standards/procedures or critical infrastructure management.

Prevention Strategy Objective

It is important to address whether hazards can be stopped or avoided and be aware of any vulnerabilities. In cases where hazards cannot be stopped from occurring, the use of appropriate avoidance measures can protect life, property, infrastructure, the economy, the environment, and social and governance systems.

Prevention strategies and activities could include the following:

  • Hazard-specific control programs:
    • Activities to avoid the adverse impacts from potential flooding events including building levees, dams, floodways, spillways, hydraulic control structures, control gates, flood detention basins and performing drainage system improvements such as river-dredging to prevent floods.
    • Building design practices and the utilization of construction materials that increase the capacity of a structure to resist extreme weather events and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosives (CBRNE) as well as other physical security threats.
    • Preventing forest fires through regulating personal fires, conducting controlled burning and mechanical treatment activities to improve forest health.
  • Critical infrastructure protection and management:
    • Designing critical infrastructure to withstand adverse conditions or technical failures.
      • Critical Infrastructure consists of:
        • Food and Water
        • Telecommunication Systems
        • Electrical Power System
        • Gas and Oil
        • Financial Services
        • Health System
        • Transportation Networks
        • Public Safety and Security
        • Continuity of Government
  • Ensuring that disaster risk reduction priorities drive emergency management programs with a clear understanding of the impact of climate change on natural hazards.
  • Legislative and Regulatory Controls:
    • Land-use planning
    • Building codes
    • Zoning restrictions
    • Improved operating standards/procedures.
  • Public health strategies
  • Cyber security initiatives
  • Warning systems
  • Public education and training
  • Hazardous material safety initiatives
  • Financial support through grants, subsidies and preferential tax codes and deductibles.

Mitigation

Mitigation includes actions taken to reduce the adverse impacts of an emergency or disaster that cannot be reasonably prevented. Mitigation strategies can be undertaken by any individual or organization. Mitigation strategies are based on the results of a risk assessment and may include short-term and long-term plans and actions.

Mitigation Strategy Objective

Mitigation works to lessen, or if possible, diminish the impact of disasters by using strategies that reduce risk and vulnerability. Climate change adaption initiatives should be considered to enhance community resilience and sustainability.

Mitigation Strategies and activities can include the following:

  • Hazard-specific control programs:
    • Reduce the impact of floods by building levees, dams, floodways, spillways, hydraulic control structures, control gates, flood detention basins and performing drainage system improvements including river-dredging.
    • Conduct controlled burning and mechanical treatment activities to improve forest health to ensure small fire incidents do not develop into major, uncontrollable fires.
    • Monitoring waterway conditions for ice melt/jams and flow rate and taking appropriate actions such as controlled dam releases to mitigate flooding.
  • Critical infrastructure protection and management:
    • Reducing vulnerabilities of entities by utilizing designs and material capable of withstanding extreme weather or technical failures.
      • Critical Infrastructure consists of:
        • Food and Water
        • Telecommunication Systems
        • Electrical Power System
        • Gas and Oil
        • Financial Services
        • Health System
        • Transportation Networks
        • Public Safety and Security
        • Continuity of Government
  • Ensure that disaster risk reduction priorities drive emergency management programs with a clear understanding of the impact that climate change has on natural hazards.
  • Legislative and regulatory controls:
    • Land-use planning
    • Building codes
    • Zoning restrictions
    • Improved operating standards/procedures
  • Public health strategies
  • Warning systems
  • Community education and training
  • Hazardous material safety initiatives
  • Financial support through grants, subsidies and preferential tax codes and deductibles.

Preparedness

Preparedness ensures the ability to prevent, mitigate, respond to, and recover from an emergency. To be prepared includes appropriately addressing all the other components of emergency management.

Preparedness Strategy Objective

The objective is to ensure appropriate actions are taken within the components of prevention and mitigation, and where necessary, ensure an effective response to, and recovery from incidents. The goal continues to be to protect life, property, infrastructure, the economy, the environment, and social and governance systems and increase the speed of recovery activities.

Preparedness strategies and activities could include the following:

  • Develop and implement strategies and plans for prevention, mitigation, response, recovery and continuity of operations planning.
  • Complete a hazard identification and risk assessment and identify critical infrastructure to develop a risk profile.
  • Implement continuity of operations planning that outlines how critical services will be delivered during a disruptive event as well as the recovery of critical activities.
  • Prepare and maintain emergency procedures and standards.
  • Conduct emergency training and exercises.
  • Implement public awareness and educational initiatives on personal preparedness, hazard identification and how to access assistance during an emergency.
  • Establish and utilize alerting and notification systems.
  • Implement resource management procedures to ensure that adequate personnel, physical, informational, and financial resources are available as required.
  • Install hazard monitoring devices to enhance early warning.

Response

Response refers to measures taken immediately before, during, or immediately after an emergency for the purpose of managing the consequences. This may require the implementation / activation of appropriate response plan(s) as well as the provision and pre-positioning of resources (such as personnel, services and/or equipment), the establishment and staffing of a response structure, the activation of information collection and sharing protocols, and the development of an incident-specific action plan to address the emergency.

Response Strategy Objective

The objective is to ensure that a controlled, coordinated, and effective response is quickly undertaken at the outset of the emergency to prevent loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, and/or environmental damage.

Response strategies and activities could include the following:

  • Implement emergency response plans and continuity of operations plans.
  • Implement operational procedures to support the activation and execution of the response plans.
  • Implement a coordination mechanism for all stakeholders involved in the response.
  • Use a standardized incident management system.
  • Ensure procedures are in place to conduct situational awareness that includes threat and impact assessments and the identification of the resources needed to support and manage emergency and continuity operations.
  • Develop and maintain procedures that establish clear leadership roles and a chain of command/response hierarchy with identified alternates.
  • Ensure ongoing evaluation of the response, and as required, modify the response plan.
  • Ensure lessons-learned are recorded and corrective actions are taken post-incident.

Recovery

Recovery refers to the process of restoring an affected community to a pre-disaster or higher level of functioning. This may include the provision of financial assistance, rehabilitation of critical infrastructure and habitats, return of evacuees, restoration of the environment or critical incident stress counseling. Recovery components also involve risk reduction components that encourage all levels, including communities and residents to build back better.

Recovery Strategy Objective

The objective is to deliver effective, immediate and on-going support to people, and the community/organization for emotional, social, physical, environmental and financial well-being. Recovery should use a risk reduction framework to incorporate prevention and mitigation components and ideally, a higher level of preparedness.

Recovery Strategies and activities could include the following:

  • Implement recovery plans for short-term and long-term priorities for restoration of functions, services, resources, facilities, programs and infrastructure.
  • Implement psycho-social recovery plans.
  • Implement procedures to restore and return operations from the temporary measures adopted during an incident to support normal operations after an incident.
  • Ensure a proactive communication strategy is in place to keep the community aware of actions being taken.
  • Recognize the importance of a systematic approach to incorporating prevention and mitigation strategies into recovery programs.
  • Re-evaluate the recovery plans and strategies to ensure that risk reduction priorities of prevention and mitigation strategies remain relevant and effective.

Emergency Management Programs

Ontario requires designated provincial government bodies (e.g. ministries) and municipalities to develop, implement, and maintain emergency management programs and adopt standards for these programs through legislation and regulation. These mandatory requirements ensure that a consistent, accountable, and robust system of emergency management is established across all jurisdictions throughout the province.

Legislation and Regulations

The primary authorities that establish the requirements of an emergency management program are:

  • EMCPA, R.S.O. 1990, c. E.9
  • O. Reg. 380/04
  • Order in Council 1157/2009

Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act

In Ontario, the EMCPA 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, municipalities, and to specific individual appointments (such as the Premier, commissioner of emergency management, and the chief of Emergency Management Ontario).

Key provisions in the act provide for[4]:

  • The definition of 'emergency' and 'emergency management program'.
  • The requirement that municipalities and provincial ministries develop and implement an emergency management program. In developing their emergency management programs, municipalities and ministries must conduct a hazard identification and risk assessment process and they must identify elements of infrastructure to be protected.
  • The assignment of responsibility for a specific type of emergency and/or emergency services to a ministry by the Lieutenant Governor in-Council (LGIC). 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 LGIC 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 of Emergency Management Ontario is also responsible for ensuring that these programs are coordinated as far as possible with the programs of the Government of Canada.
  • The requirement that the LGIC formulate emergency plans for nuclear facilities.
  • The authority for the Solicitor General, to make regulations that set standards for the development and implementation of emergency management programs.

Ontario Regulation 380/04 (O. Reg. 380/04)

Ontario Regulation 380/04 (O. Reg. 380/04) under the EMCPA sets out the required elements of an emergency management program for both provincial ministries and municipalities. The EMCPA authorizes the Solicitor General to enact regulations that set standards for the development, implementation and maintenance of emergency management programs required by municipalities and provincial ministries.

Under the EMCPA and O. Reg. 380/04, an emergency management program must:

  • Designate an emergency management program co-ordinator and alternate
  • Complete training for the emergency management program coordinator
  • Establish and conduct training for the Ministry Action Group and the Municipal Emergency Control Group
  • Conduct an annual exercise for the Ministry Action Group / Municipal Emergency Control Group
  • Establish an emergency management program committee
  • Designate an emergency information officer
  • Establish an Emergency Operations Centre
  • Ensure 24/7 notification arrangements
  • Identify and assess hazards and risks
  • Identify important infrastructure
  • Conduct public education
  • Formulate an emergency plan
  • Revise the emergency plan
  • Conduct an annual review of the ministry/municipal emergency management program

Additionally, ministry emergency management programs must include:

  • Continuity of Operations Plan

The legislation and regulation places the accountability for emergency management programs with the municipal head of council and ministers. The legislation and regulation do not govern the approaches on how these are achieved, leaving flexibility for how the various elements within their emergency management program will be implemented.

Order in Council 1157/2009

The assignment of a special area of (emergency) responsibility to a provincial minister is issued through an Order in Council. Under Order in Council 1157/2009 (OIC 1157/2009), select 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[5]. These responsibilities are in addition to the EMCPA and O. Reg. 380/04.

Supporting Legislation and Programs

While the core emergency management programs are mandated under the EMCPA, regulation and OIC, there are other related provisions that are undertaken that complement the core emergency management programs and make emergency management in Ontario more comprehensive. The province has put into effect other legislation and has developed various emergency management-related programs and activities as described below, to provide direction, support and guidance to jurisdictions and stakeholders across the province.

Planning Act

The Ontario Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13 is the primary law governing land use planning in Ontario. The legislation grants municipal governments authority to control the use of privately-owned lands through a range of planning tools. At the same time, the Planning Act is intended to establish a land use planning system that is led by provincial policy, and to integrate matters of provincial interest in provincial and municipal planning decisions. The Planning Act allows the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to issue policy statements, approved by the provincial Cabinet. The Ontario Provincial Policy Statement 3.1.1 states that development shall generally be directed to areas outside of lands impacted by certain natural hazards. This act is key to the emergency management program components of prevention and mitigation.

Forest Fire Prevention Act

Ontario mitigates the dangers of forest fires through the Forest Fire Prevention Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.24 which is administered by Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. In addition to setting out rules on where and when people can start fires, the act grants broad enforcement powers to conservation officers, police officers and fire wardens in preventing, containing and controlling forest fires. This act is key to the emergency management program components of prevention and mitigation.

Ontario Critical Infrastructure Assurance Program

Ontario's Critical Infrastructure Assurance Program (OCIAP) is a province-wide initiative, that identifies and assess Ontario's key facilities, systems and networks, and their interdependencies, and promote processes to reduce risks from physical and cyber threats and other vulnerabilities.[6]

The Program defines critical infrastructure 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. The Program goes on to define critical infrastructure assurance as the application of risk management and 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 disruptions and facilitating response and recovery.

As of 2021, the OCIAP is being reviewed to ensure its mandate and structure are in alignment with lessons identified from recent emergencies and incidents. Currently, the program addresses critical infrastructures through nine sectors:

  • Public safety and security
  • Continuity of government
  • Food and water
  • Telecommunication systems
  • Electrical power system
  • Gas and oil
  • Financial services
  • Health System
  • Transportation networks

Recently, critical manufacturing was added as an ad hoc tenth sector.

Training Program

Emergency Management Ontario develops and supports the coordination and delivery of training to increase awareness and applied knowledge of emergency management practices and principles across Ontario. This program includes emergency management training targeted to municipal and ministry emergency management practitioners and seeks to maintain instructor standards across the province.

Incident Management System

Consistent with international best practices, Ontario's Incident Management System is a standardized approach to emergency management response which enables personnel, facilities, equipment, procedures, and communications to operate within a common organizational structure[7]. IMS improves the effectiveness of incident response by helping organizations and jurisdictions to collaborate. IMS can also be cost effective by avoiding the duplication of efforts and resources.

IMS recognizes that in any incident, there are certain response functions that must be carried out, regardless of the number of persons involved, or the size and scope of an incident. These six main functions include: Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, Finance and Administration, and Public Information. Several other incident-dependent functions are also recognized.

The use and adoption of IMS are recommended to all emergency management partners and stakeholders. IMS is a best practice for effective emergency response. The province provides guidance and resources to assist stakeholders in implementing IMS within their jurisdictions and organizations.

Provincial Emergency Operations Centre

PEOC is a facility that is always managed by a team of dedicated staff. The key functions of the PEOC are to continually monitor evolving situations inside and outside of Ontario, provide relevant situational awareness information, accommodate various response partners (physically and virtually), and offer the mechanisms for a provincial incident management team to coordinate the response to emergencies that require provincial assistance.

These arrangements ensure that key decision-makers and provincial resources can respond to evolving situations as quickly as possible.

PEOC procedures include providing Ontario municipalities and First Nation communities with a single point of contact for provincial assistance during emergencies. Emergency Management Ontario, through the PEOC, is directly supported by provincial ministries and other emergency responders who have various roles to play. The management of and response to emergencies is directed by the ministry with the lead responsibilities for specific hazards/services/emergencies. The lead ministry may operate from the PEOC or its own EOC.

During large-scale emergencies, the Premier or LGIC may declare a provincial emergency. If the province requires specialized or large-scale assistance from the federal government, it will often be requested and coordinated through the PEOC.

Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment

Completing a hazard identification and risk assessment (HIRA) is a critical part of every emergency management program in Ontario, and is a requirement under the EMCPA. A HIRA assesses the potential risk of hazards with the capacity to cause an emergency. This helps set priorities for prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery activities.

Ontario's HIRA report provides a comprehensive overview of hazard information relevant to Ontario and provides a baseline and common understanding of hazards. The HIRA methodology is also intended to provide guidance to emergency management coordinators and stakeholders on the process of completing a HIRA.[8]

Public Education Program

Emergency Management Ontario works with partners and stakeholders to develop public education products and tools for use by emergency management organizations in Ontario. Municipalities, provincial ministries, organizations, businesses and schools may use these products to support and promote their respective emergency management programs. Emergency Management Ontario also organizes and promotes public awareness events to foster and promote a culture of preparedness for all Ontario residents. Public education and public preparedness are requirements under the legislated emergency management programs

Emergency Alert System

Alert Ready in Ontario is part of a national service designed to deliver critical and potentially life-saving emergency alert messages to Canadians. Emergency alerts are distributed through radio, television, and compatible wireless devices to help ensure that Ontarians have the critical information they need in emergencies to take necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families.[9]

Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance

The Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance (MDRA) is a provincial program that provides financial assistance to help Ontario municipalities recover from natural disasters. When activated by the province, the claims-based program offers financial assistance to qualifying municipalities that have sustained significant costs as a result of a natural disaster, such as a tornado or severe flooding.[10]

Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians

The Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians (DRAO) is a provincial program designed to help Ontarians recover costs after a natural disaster. The program may be activated for damage to private property when there is a sudden, unexpected natural event, such as a flood or tornado that caused costly and widespread damage within an area. DRAO provides financial assistance to individuals, small owner-operated businesses, farmers and not-for-profit organizations. It helps cover emergency expenses, repairs, or replacement of essential property after a natural disaster.[11]

Northern Emergency Management Assistance Compact

The Ontario government has signed on to the Northern Emergency Management Assistance Compact (NEMAC). Provinces and Americanstates that have signed the NEMAC have entered into a memorandum of agreement to facilitate cross-border emergency management assistance through mutual aid.

The agreement can be used for any capability and capacity that one member state or province has that can be shared with another. This spans from natural disasters such as floods and tornados to human-caused emergencies such as chemical spills and terrorist events. The Agreement comprises specialized resources and assets that can be brought to bear on any given incident and encourages and allows for cooperative planning and exercises among participating states and provinces to ensure all parties are better prepared during emergencies.[12]

The agreement does not compel provinces or states to respond to requests for assistance but provides a legal framework to clarify issues around cost recovery, liability and workers compensation.

Emergency Management Mutual-Aid Arrangements

The Ontario government has signed on to an Interjurisdictional Emergency Management Assistance Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) through the Canadian Council of Emergency Management Organizations. The purpose of this MOU is to promote and facilitate emergency management assistance between provinces and territories, before, during and after a major event. The MOU is supported by standard operating procedures which outline the process of requesting and receiving assistance from other provinces and territories to adequately support emergency response efforts. The MOU and SOPs are collectively referred to as the Emergency Management Mutual-Aid Arrangements (EMMA).

Provincial and Ministry Plans

Legislation requires the LGIC to formulate an emergency plan with respect to emergencies that arise in connection with nuclear facilities; this is currently titled the Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan. Legislation also authorizes the Solicitor General, if he or she thinks it is necessary or desirable in the interests of emergency management and public safety, to formulate certain other emergency plans. Examples include the Provincial Emergency Information Plan and a Mass Evacuation Plan. Additionally, Order in Council 1157/2009 assigns responsibilities to select ministries to develop response plans for specific types of emergencies. One of the plans assigned by this order is specifically required to address any emergency that requires the coordination of provincial emergency management; this is currently titled the Provincial Emergency Response Plan.

Brief overviews of select plans follow.

Provincial Emergency Response Plan

The Provincial Emergency Response Plan describes the arrangements and measures that may be taken to safeguard the health, safety, welfare and property of the people of Ontario affected by an emergency. It sets out the basic mechanisms, organizational structures, responsibilities, and procedures to guide ministers and their staff when involved in a coordinated provincial response to emergencies in Ontario. It also serves as the foundation for the development and coordination of provincial plans with municipalities, First Nation communities in Ontario, and the Government of Canada and its agencies.[13]

Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan

The Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan establishes a framework for the response to nuclear emergencies arising at nuclear reactor facilities as well as for radiological emergencies (e.g. transportation accidents involving radiological substances, radiological dispersal devices or terrorist-related activities). While the likelihood of a serious accident in a reactor facility remains low, the province is prepared to respond to those occurring both provincially and internationally[14]. Ontario's response to a nuclear incident is developed in accordance with Section 8 of the EMCPA.

Provincial Emergency Information Plan

The Provincial Emergency Information Plan (PEIP) is necessary to ensure that during an emergency, prompt and coordinated information from the Ontario government is shared with the public, media, members of the provincial parliament, partners and stakeholders. During an emergency, the province will release information needed to protect the health, well-being, safety and property of Ontarians. The PEIP clarifies the role of provincial ministries and determines when emergency information activities should be centralized and coordinated by the Provincial Emergency Information Section. It also outlines provincial emergency information resources and support that may be available to municipalities.[15]

Evacuation Plans

  • Ontario's Mass Evacuation Plan Part 1: Far North guides the planning and implementation of evacuations from the activation phase through demobilization and outlines the roles and responsibilities of the various partners who assist in evacuation operations.[16]
  • The Guideline for the Development of the Municipal Evacuation Plan is an annex to the Ontario Mass Evacuation Plan. The purpose of this guideline is to aid municipalities in preparing an evacuation plan. The guideline presents evacuation planning concepts that may be applied for various scales of evacuations and municipality sizes.

National and International Program Standards

Beyond legislated/regulated standards, and internally produced plans, guidelines and best practices, Ontario monitors and engages with other organizations that produce emergency management standards. Some notable examples that are widely endorsed and provide key guidelines, best practices and applicable standards for emergency management programs at any level include:

  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA): Z1600 Standard on Emergency and Continuity Management
  • CSA N1600-16 General Requirements for Nuclear Emergency Management Programs
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA): 1600 Standard on Continuity, Emergency and Crisis Management
  • International Organization for Standardization (IS0)
    • ISO 22320: Emergency Management - Guidelines for Incident Management
    • ISO 22301: Business Continuity Management Systems
    • ISO 22326: Emergency management - Guidelines for monitoring of facilities with identified hazards

Governance

In addition to the leadership and management embedded in programs for provincial government bodies and municipalities as per legislation, Ontario has established or is part of senior level committees and appointments for emergency management in Ontario.

Governance of emergency management in Ontario is developed and implemented through:

  • Emergency management governance committees/appointments
  • Emergency management response, program, and document structures

Emergency Management Governance Committees and Appointments

Federal, Provincial, Territorial committees:

  • Senior Officials Responsible for Emergency Management
    The Standing Forum of Federal/Provincial/Territorial (FPT) Senior Officials Responsible for Emergency Management (SOREM) is responsible for coordinating a strategy for emergency management in Canada, and for providing guidance and advice on how to enhance emergency management in Canada. Members are provincial and territorial heads of emergency management organizations and the assistant deputy minister of the Emergency Management and Programs Branch of Public Safety Canada.
  • Canadian Council of Emergency Management Organizations
    The Canadian Council of Emergency Management Organizations serves to foster cooperation between provinces and territories, to provide support during emergency events and to inform national discussions concerning FPT program and policy development. CCEMO was established in 2002 under the authority of provincial and territorial (PT) deputy ministers responsible for emergency management and is mandated to improve the safety of all Canadians through enhanced inter-jurisdictional coordination of emergency management practices involving all phases (prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery). While responsibility to carry out the mandate is shared amongst PTs, collaboration is sought from the federal government and national non-government public safety organizations. Membership in CCEMO consists of a lead senior official from each province and territory's emergency management organization, or their designate.

Province-wide:

  • Cabinet Committee on Emergency Management (CCEM)
    This committee was created to advise the LGIC on matters relating to emergencies. Permanent membership on the CCEM consists of: Premier and President of the Executive Council, the Attorney General, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (Energy), Minister of Finance, Minister of Health, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, President of the Treasury Board and the Solicitor General. Any situation or circumstance within the scope of CCEM that falls within the mandate or statutory authority of a member of the Executive Council not listed in OIC 997/2020, that member may be added to the committee for such period considered appropriate by the chair.
  • Commissioner of Emergency Management
    The Commissioner of Emergency Management is appointed by Order in Council and serves at the pleasure of the LGIC for a period not exceeding three years from the effective date of their appointment. If an emergency order has been made by the LGIC or Premier, the powers (outlined by Section 7.0.2 (4) and Section 7.0.3 of the EMCPA) of the LGIC or the Premier may be delegated to the commissioner of Emergency Management.
  • Chief of Emergency Management Ontario
    The chief of Emergency Management Ontario is responsible for monitoring, coordinating and assisting in the development and implementation of ministry and municipal emergency management programs. The chief is also responsible for ensuring those programs and plans are coordinated with the emergency plans of the Government of Canada and its agencies.

Provincial government bodies:

  • Ministry Emergency Management Program Committee
    The purpose of this committee is to advise the minister on the development and implementation of the ministry's emergency management program. Membership includes the ministry's MEMC, a senior official appointed by the minister and ministry employees who are responsible for emergency management functions as may be appointed by the minister.
  • Ministry Action Group
    The Ministry Action Group shall direct the ministry's response in an emergency, including the implementation of the ministry's emergency plan. It is also responsible for developing procedures to govern its responsibilities in an emergency. Membership consists of each deputy minister of the ministry or their designates, the senior ministry official appointed to the ministry's emergency management program committee, the MEMC and other ministry employees as may be appointed by the minister.
  • Ministry Emergency Management Coordinator
    This position is responsible for co-ordinating the development and implementation of the ministry's emergency management program within the ministry and for co-ordinating the ministry's emergency management program in so far as possible with the emergency management programs of other ministries, municipalities, and organizations outside government that are involved in emergency management.
  • Emergency Information Officer
    Every minister shall designate an employee of the ministry as the ministry's emergency information officer. The emergency information officer shall act as the primary media and public contact for the ministry in an emergency.

Municipalities:

  • Emergency Management Program Committee
    Every municipality is required to have an Emergency Management Program Committee. The committee shall advise the municipal council on the development and implementation of the municipality's emergency management program. The committee is also responsible for conducting an annual review of the municipality's emergency management program and shall make recommendations to the council for its revision if necessary. Membership consists of the municipality's emergency management program co-ordinator, a senior municipal official appointed by the council, such members of the council as may be appointed by the council, council appointed municipal employees who are responsible for emergency management functions, and such other persons as may be appointed by the council.
  • Emergency Control Group
    Every municipality is required to have a municipal emergency control group. The emergency control group is responsible for directing the municipality's response in an emergency, including the implementation of the municipality's emergency response plan. Its membership consists of council-appointed officials or employees of the municipality, or other members of the municipal council.
  • Community Emergency Management Coordinator
    Every municipality is required to have an emergency management program coordinator. This community emergency management coordinator is an employee of the municipality or a member of the council. They are responsible for co-ordinating the development and implementation of the municipality's emergency management program within the municipality. In addition, they are responsible for co-ordinating with the emergency management programs of other municipalities, the provincial government and organizations outside of the government that are involved in emergency management.
  • Emergency Information Officer
    Every municipality shall designate an employee of the municipality as its emergency information officer. The emergency information officer shall act as the primary media and public contact for the municipality in an emergency.

Emergency Management Programmatic Support Structure (for non-emergencies)

The flow of information and the making of decisions relevant to emergency management program matters involve many organizational bodies across Ontario. In support of the emergency management program governance structure, there are several committees and forums that have been established to enhance EM programs in Ontario.

  • EMO Sectors
    EMO has established geographic sectors across the province and assigned field staff to these sectors. Field staff provide advice and assistance to municipalities within their sectors on an ongoing basis to support developing, maintaining, and enhancing municipal emergency management programs. Using the sector structure, EMO Field Staff work with municipalities' community emergency management coordinators to schedule and conduct twice-yearly sector meetings. These meetings provide a forum to exchange best practices, learn about evolving trends in emergency management, and provide updates from an EMO corporate perspective. Emergency management best practices and challenges shared by municipalities at sector meetings are used by EMO to support emergency management program enhancements and/or to identify solutions.
Figure 5: Emergency Management Ontario Sectors
Figure showing the 10 Emergency Management Ontario Sectors.
              The 10 sectors are: Amethyst, Albany, Killarney, Lakes, Capital, Loyalist, Severn, Bruce, Golden Horseshoe and St. Clair
  • Ministry Emergency Management Coordinators Committee
    The purpose of the Ministry Emergency Management Coordinators Committee (MEMCC) is to enhance inter-ministerial coordination as it relates to emergency management within the Ontario Public Service. The membership is comprised of EMO, MEMCs and directors of emergency management in ministries.
  • Provincial Emergency Management Coordinators Committee
    The purpose of the Provincial Emergency Management Coordinating Committee (PEMCC) is to provide a strategic forum for advancing emergency management in Ontario. Relevant information from community emergency management coordinators are shared at Sector Meetings. Relevant information is then shared at Sector Leads Meetings, which then is shared at PEMCC which is chaired by the chief of EMO or delegate. Similarly, relevant information from MEMCC meetings are subsequently shared at PEMCC meetings. Membership currently includes municipal sector representatives (two from each of the EMO sectors), ministry emergency management coordinators (MEMCs) and alternate MEMCs, EMO, Public Safety Canada—Ontario Region. Other organizations may be invited as required.
  • Nuclear Emergency Management Coordinating Committee (NEMCC)
    The purpose of the NEMCC is to ensure that an optimum state of nuclear emergency planning, preparedness, response and recovery is achieved and maintained in Ontario. Membership includes organizations at the federal, provincial, municipal and reactor facility level with responsibility for nuclear safety in the province, as stated in the PNERP Annex I. Additional representation may be requested from other relevant representatives, including, private sector organizations and those with the ability to offer scientific or technical expertise. The outcomes of all these committee meetings and forums, in the form of recommendations are brought to the chief, EMO for review and where necessary, the determination of actions to be taken. If required, the chief, EMO has the option and opportunity to refer matters to the commissioner of Emergency Management, and eventually to the Cabinet Committee on Emergency Management.

Provincial Emergency Response Structure

The general organizational structure established for the response to an emergency that requires the coordination of activities between multiple provincial organizations is illustrated below, in Figure 6. It can also be found in the Provincial Emergency Response Plan. The depiction below is not a command and control structure. What is shown is the primary lines of communications and coordination for a multi-jurisdictional response. Each organization will make additional connections with other organizations as required by the needs of the emergency. See Appendix A for the diagram of the Provincial Emergency Response Structure.

Structure of Documents and Authorities

Under the constitutional division of powers in Canada, the management of public order and public emergencies is led by the provinces, with support from the federal government. Emergency management and civil protection activities undertaken in Ontario stem from the following sets of documents/authorities. The relationship between these documents/authorities is illustrated below (Figure 7). The Emergency Management Framework for Ontario is depicted at the base as the foundational and doctrinal document.

Figure 6: Represents the structure of documents and authorities, beginning with the Emergency Management Framework for Ontario as the foundational document.
The EM Framework is the foundational document that lays out EM concepts and principles. It guides EM Legislation such as the EMCPA, Regulations and Orders in Council. That EM Legislation guides EM Directives and Policies, which determines EM Guidelines and Recommended Practices and Voluntary Standards. These, in turn, guide EM plans, activities and systems, which in turn determine EM Procedures. Concepts and principles from the EM Framework are included in EM Legislation, Regulations and Orders in Council. EM Legislations, Regulations and Orders in Council, as well as Directives and Policies contain requirements for provincial and municipal EM programs.

Stakeholders

The stakeholders involved in the development and implementation of emergency management in Ontario include, but are not limited to:

  • Individuals/Organizations. Emergency management programs are recommended for individuals as well as the private and not-for-profit sectors in Ontario. The level of individual/organizational engagement to prevent, mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergency situations may vary depending on an individual's or organization's vulnerabilities and capabilities. In Ontario, public education programs are developed to provide guidance with the intention of helping individuals and organizations become better prepared and more self-sufficient. Individuals should be prepared to deal with an emergency on their own for a minimum of three days (72 hours).
  • Municipalities. The first level of organized emergency management is at the community level. Under provincial legislation, municipalities have certain responsibilities for the safety and wellbeing of the public. Each municipality must develop and implement an emergency management program that can be tailored to their local needs. Municipalities should make all efforts to prevent and mitigate the effects of hazards that pose a threat to their communities, help prepare the public, ensure they have sufficient capabilities to respond to incidents and provide guidance and support in recovery. As a recommended practice, municipalities should ensure they are able to continue the provision of their local government services to the public through the development and implementation of appropriate continuity of operations plans (COOP) even though it is not mandated by legislation. Municipalities are differentiated in several ways and may fall into one or more categories such as region, county, city, town, township, and may be upper, lower, or single tier. Emergency plans may be coordinated with consent across all municipal councils in counties. The emergency plan of a lower-tier municipality in an upper-tier municipality, excluding a county, shall conform to the emergency plan of the upper-tier municipality
  • Unincorporated Territories: An unincorporated territory is a geographic area without municipal organization. Ontario stands ready to deliver provincial emergency response support to unincorporated territories during emergencies.
  • Province of Ontario. Canada's constitution sets out the responsibilities of provinces to legislate on certain matters involving public services and the health and wellbeing of the public. The Ontario government implements a part of its constitutional mandate through the development and implementation of emergency management programs. Within the system of partnerships, the Ontario government retains aspects of provincial emergency management, designates provincial government bodies to be responsible for aspects of provincial emergency management programs, and delegates certain emergency management program responsibilities to municipalities. The matter of protecting and caring for the public through emergency management activities stems from the province's mandate and responsibility for healthcare. The Ontario government determines the extent to which provincial government bodies and municipalities develop, implement and maintain emergency management programs related to all five components of emergency management, for the continuity of government operations, and for specific types of emergencies, including specific hazards and risks and/or emergency services.
  • First Nations Communities in Ontario. The province promotes collaboration and coordination across ministries and municipalities pertaining to emergency management supports to First Nations communities. The Government of Canada assigns roles and responsibilities to its departments for emergency management support to First Nations communities. While the province does not have jurisdiction over First Nations communities, the province does have joint arrangements with the federal government to assist First Nation communities in providing emergency management services. When an emergency in a First Nation community requires a partial or full evacuation of that community, and upon the request of the Chief of that First Nation community, EMO operates the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre in partnership with other relevant provincial ministries and federal departments and coordinates the preparation and conduct of the evacuation.
  • Government of Canada. The federal government implements programs regarding prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. During emergencies the federal government may provide assistance to the provincial government subject to requests and the availability of resources. While most emergencies generally have local impacts, the potential for various types of national emergencies that have impacts within provincial and local jurisdictions have increased. An accumulation of risks for larger scale emergencies are associated with factors such as increased urbanization, critical infrastructure interdependencies, terrorism, climate change, animal and human diseases, along with more movement of people and goods around the world. Such events could transcend geographic boundaries and exceed provincial and local response capacities, thus requiring assistance from federal resources. The federal government has primary responsibility for responding to war and international emergencies. Before the federal government issues or continues a declaration of an international emergency, each province will typically be consulted with respect to the proposed action, as appropriate and practicable. This is an example of the political and strategic consultation between the governments of Ontario and Canada. These arrangements are governed by federal legislation as well as agreements between Ontario and Canada.
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). NGO's are non-profit, voluntary citizen groups that are organized on a local, national and/or international level. NGOs perform a variety of services and humanitarian functions and are often in a unique position to mobilize communities at the grassroots level. NGOs play an important role in fostering greater emergency awareness and preparedness, provide physical and human resources during an incident, raise emergency relief funds, conduct research, provide valuable input on, and advocate for changes in emergency management policies and procedures. Province-wide networks and alliances of NGOs (such as the NGO Alliance of Ontario) can be used to coordinate actions across all five components of emergency management.
  • Cross-border and International. There may be occasions when an emergency exceeds the resources within Ontario, or a neighbouring jurisdiction in which the emergency is occurring. Ontario's geographical location shares borders with several Canadian and US jurisdictions that may necessitate cross-border assistance. The Ontario government has cross-border assistance agreements with some contiguous US jurisdictions and cross-border assistance agreements with Canadian provinces and territories. Subject to these mutually agreed upon arrangements, cross border assistance may be more readily available, and/or more operationally expedient, than Ontario's own resources, or Government of Canada assistance. Any inter-jurisdictional agreement should involve cooperative planning and exercises with all organizations involved to improve preparedness and the efficacy of response.

Strategy

Ontario is a partner to the national Emergency Management Strategy for Canada: Toward a Resilient 2030. Under the EM Strategy for Canada, the province will work collectively with federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) partners in Canada to strengthen the resilience of Canadian society by 2030. The Emergency Management Strategy for Canada seeks to guide FPT governments, and their respective emergency management partners, in carrying out priorities aimed at strengthening Canada's ability to assess risks and to prevent/mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.

EMO is undertaking a refresh of the Ontario EM strategy that will outline the goals and objectives that emergency management programs in Ontario strive to achieve, supported and guided by emergency management principles and components.

Appendix A

Provincial Emergency Response Structure Diagram

Figure 7: Communication and coordination structure in a multi-jurisdictional response.
The PEOC is at the centre of the response organization during an emergency involving a coordinated provincial response. The PEOC coordinates between provincial authorities (up to and including the premier and cabinet), ministries and provincial organizations, the federal government, and local governments and responders. The PEOC also coordinates with contiguous provinces and states, such as Québec or New York, and other organizations such as NGOs or critical infrastructure owners. At the provincial level, ministry emergency operations centres provide the primary link between the PEOC and ministry staff, including field staff at Incident Command Posts. Ministries report up to cabinet through their own ministerial lines of reporting. For municipalities, municipal emergency operations centres act as the primary link between the PEOC and the rest of the municipal organization. Municipalities are also the primary link with volunteer and community organizations that are operating locally. First nations respond in a similar manner to municipalities, with a designated person or organization providing the primary between the PEOC and other local responders. The unique aspect for First Nations is that they also link directly with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC). At the federal level, the primary link between the PEOC and other federal organizations is the Government Operations Centre. As previously stated, while these connections may represent the primary links in an emergency, involved organizations will make other connections as required by the needs of the emergency. Contact us at AskOFMEM@ontario.ca if you require details in an alternative format.

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