Ontario Preparing People and Communities for Future Emergencies
First-ever action plan will support quick response to natural disasters and other emergencies
February 3, 2023
TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government released its first-ever Provincial Emergency Management Strategy and Action Plan, helping to ensure Ontarians are prepared for and safe during future emergencies like cyber security threats, pandemics or natural disasters.
The plan, the first of its kind in Canada, sets a foundation for emergency management in Ontario and builds on lessons learned from past emergencies including the COVID-19 pandemic, which represented the single largest provincial emergency in decades.
“With an increase in wildfires, floods, and other potential emergencies that threaten the safety of Ontario’s communities, it’s vitally important that we have a plan in place to respond to crises quickly, efficiently and in close coordination with partners on the ground,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Emergency Management in Ontario. “This strategic and action-oriented plan outlines a comprehensive vision for all of Ontario to be safe, practiced, and prepared at all times. Our commitment to communities across the province is to ensure we are as emergency ready and resilient as possible—both now and into the future.”
Developed in partnership with emergency management partners, including municipalities, First Nations partners and provincial ministries, the plan highlights key actions the province is taking to keep Ontario in a state of constant readiness and preparedness. It also outlines initiatives to augment and support municipal and First Nations emergency strategies.
Highlights of the plan include the following:
- A strengthened provincial governance and accountability framework that includes Emergency Management Ontario as the provincial lead for emergency management coordination.
- A one window for all Ontarians approach to proactively coordinate with emergency management partners on preparedness and information sharing.
- Increased local supports for municipalities and Indigenous partners, including a doubling of regional field services staff, in 2022, to better support all regions of the province.
- Proactive planning and monitoring, including enhanced flood mapping, a cyber security strategy, and increased resources for emergency management partners.
- Programs to improve community preparedness, including tabletop and priority exercises and a strengthened Ontario Corps.
- A commitment to annual reports detailing the progress made on the strategy and action plan.
The plan will be further strengthened through ongoing engagement with partners to ensure Ontarians are prepared for future emergencies.
The Provincial Emergency Management Strategy and Action Plan can be downloaded from ontario.ca/SafeAndPrepared.
- In 2022, 58 community and provincial emergencies were declared in Ontario and more than 1,900 members from four First Nations communities in Ontario were evacuated due to the threat of floods.
- To support Ontario’s 444 municipalities and 133 First Nations communities, of which over 30 are remote fly-in communities, there were over 4,000 enrollments in emergency management training courses in the province, with over 300 courses run in 2022.
- In 2022, the Ontario Corps transferred from the Ministry of Citizenship and Multiculturalism to Treasury Board Secretariat. The program registers, screens and trains volunteers so Ontario is better prepared to mobilize volunteers and safely respond to emergencies, from public health crises to natural disasters. Plans are underway to strengthen the support available to communities by leveraging the existing capacity and expertise of partners to ensure predictable volunteer and specialized technical capacity is available to support communities.
- In 2022, Emergency Management Ontario participated in 35 emergency exercises and drills to test emergency plans and procedures. This includes participating in Exercise Huron Endeavour in October 2022 which tested Ontario’s nuclear emergency response plans, alongside Bruce Power, municipalities, 40 agencies and 1,400 participants.
- The Provincial Emergency Management Strategy and Action Plan builds on the government’s A Plan to Stay Open to protect the safety of Ontarians.
- Help protect yourself and your loved ones, visit Ontario.ca/BePrepared and @OntarioWarnings on Twitter.
“The Independent First Nations Alliance has worked in strong partnership with Emergency Management Ontario for many years and looks forward to continued partnership and efforts to enhance the roles and capacity of not only IFNA First Nations, but all First Nations, in the area of emergency management, preparedness and response. The PEMSAP provides one of the frameworks for that partnership, with actionable goals that we look forward to achieving together. “
– Nicholas Rhone
IFNA – Independent First Nations Alliance