Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Ontario’s efforts to improve emergency response

Ontario’s efforts to improve emergency response

Since the ice storm of 2013, Ontario has taken a number of actions to enhance its capability to respond to large-scale emergencies and to improve how the province procures supplies and services during emergencies.

These include:

The ice storm after-action report

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) and the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) have taken significant steps to improve emergency response in Ontario.

The ice storm after-action report, conducted by OFMEM, identified 24 opportunities for improvement in both municipal and provincial emergency management programs. In the aftermath of the ice storm, OFMEM consulted with provincial ministries and external stakeholders. The discussions were held to ensure that Ontario is better prepared for, and able to mitigate the consequences of future emergencies by:

  • Strengthening communications and information sharing between provincial ministries and external stakeholders, and between provincial and municipal governments and Ontarians.
  • Enhancing coordination between Ontario’s emergency management community and the province’s critical infrastructure sector such as electrical distribution companies, telecommunications providers and others.
  • Deploying Emergency Information Liaison Officers to municipalities impacted by emergencies upon requests from local leaders or other levels of government.
  • Building capacity at MCSCS to offer expert advice on emergency information to Ontario municipal officials dealing with incidents, and using government channels to amplify the reach of local emergency information messaging.
  • Raising public awareness through Emergency Preparedness Week activities in 2014 with a focus on families and vulnerable populations.
  • Reviewing the emergency supply chain and logistics alliance.
  • Creating a Supply Chain Management Action Plan to respond to the findings of the audit on the emergency supply chain. The plan will:
    • Clearly outline policies and procedures to guide and direct OFMEM staff when engaging supply chain and logistics alliance members in a provincial response.
    • Define roles and responsibilities for OFMEM personnel and partner organizations that are involved in the supply chain and logistics process.
    • Develop a checklist for the use and activation of supply chain arrangements.

Roles and responsibilities for OFMEM logistics staff will also be developed, exercised and included as part of ongoing training for all OFMEM staff involved in the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre. This will ensure there are enough trained staff who can assist with supply chain and logistics co-ordination in future emergencies.

OFMEM will also develop a framework to guide the decision making for response to requests outside of its mandate such as co-ordinating the distribution of food gift cards.