February 7, 2023 by Jason Contant
Ontario’s government will launch a ‘provincial exercise program’ to create, review and update new provincial emergency response plans and test whole-of-government emergency response, the province announced Friday.
The provincial exercise program is part of Ontario’s first-ever Provincial Emergency Management Strategy and Action Plan. The plan will ensure Ontarians are prepared for and safe during future emergencies such as cybersecurity threats, pandemics or natural disasters, the government said in a statement.
“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.
Kim Donaldson, Insurance Bureau of Canada’s (IBC) vice president for Ontario, said in a press release she was “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.
The government’s emergency management strategy consists of three goals:
As part of the provincial exercise program, the government will hold or participate in multi-disciplinary provincial, nuclear and federal-led table exercises in 2023, and annually thereafter, “with a wide range of participants,” the plan said. The government will identify and hold provincial priority exercises with partners every two years starting in 2024, work with partners to update the provincial emergency response plan and the provincial nuclear emergency response plan by 2024.
Other actions in the plan include:
Feature image by iStock.com/Marc Bruxelle