Mitigation & Prevention
Ontario releases first-of-its-kind emergency management action plan
The Ontario government has released a first-of-its kind emergency management strategy and action plan to support faster response to “natural disasters and other emergencies.”
In a Treasury Board Secretariat news release, the government said the plan is a first in Canada and sets the foundation for emergency management in the province, building on lessons learned from past emergencies including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year, 58 emergencies were declared in the province. More than 1,900 members from four First Nations were evacuated due to the threat of floods.
“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 co-ordination with partners on the ground,” said Emergency Management Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria said in the release.
Sarkaria, who is also president of the Treasury Board, called the action plan a comprehensive vision that will help make communities emergency ready and resilient.
According to the release, the plan was developed in partnership with municipalities, First Nations and provincial ministries. Highlights include a governance and accountability framework led by Emergency Management Ontario, and a single “window” approach to co-ordinate emergency management partners on preparedness and information sharing.
Find the full report for download here.
Nicholas Rhone with the Independent First Nations Alliance (IFNA) said in a release the 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,” Rhone said.
Kim Donaldson, vice-president, Ontario, with Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), applauded the strategy and action plan, noting insurance claims from severe weather and natural disasters have more than quadrupled over the past 15 years.
“We are especially pleased by the government’s commitment to create new initiatives on hazard and risk monitoring/assessment, improving municipal emergency management training, developing local and provincial emergency management exercises and enhancing public education around emergency preparedness. These efforts will help keep Ontarians safe when disasters strike,” Donaldson said.
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