Ontario releases emergency management strategy and action plan
By Canadian Security StaffNews emergency management
The Ontario government recently released a Provincial Emergency Management Strategy and Action Plan, designed to help Ontarians be prepared for a range of possible emergencies like cybersecurity threats, pandemics and natural disasters.
The province says the plan is the first of its kind in Canada and will incorporate lessons learned from mass emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the province, 58 community and provincial emergencies were declared in Ontario last year and Emergency Management Ontario participated in 35 emergency exercises and drills.
“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, in an official statement. “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.”
The plan was developed with partners including municipalities, provincial ministries and First Nations partners. According to a government press release, 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.”
Plan highlights include:
- 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 cybersecurity 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 Provincial Emergency Management Strategy and Action Plan can be downloaded from ontario.ca/SafeAndPrepared.
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