Statement from the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services on Emergency Management
"I want to thank the Auditor General for her report on Ontario's emergency management system, and her appreciation that responding to and preparing for any emergency is a top priority for our government.
Technology, climate conditions, and global geopolitical forces are all evolving rapidly. We know that our emergency management system needs to be equally adaptable. That's why in the 2014 mandate letter from the Premier, MCSCS was asked to conduct a review of Ontario's emergency management system. We completed this internal review in August 2017 and the findings are publicly available.
We are pleased to see that the findings from the Auditor General's report are consistent with our review, and we have already begun taking immediate steps to address her recommendations. Just last week, we announced Ontario's Emergency Management Action Plan, which outlines a number of key initiatives. As step one in our Action Plan, we will be:
- Recruiting a dedicated Chief of Emergency Management to help ensure effective oversight and governance of emergency management across Ontario
- Enhancing governance structures and implementing a robust performance measurement and evaluation framework to build on lessons learned from previous incidents to support continuous improvement
- Reviewing and updating the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and the Provincial Emergency Response Plan in consultation with stakeholders so that they are consistent with national and international best practices and a modern approach to emergency management
- Releasing an updated Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan by the end of 2017
- Pursuing expansion of emergency management capacity through agreements with neighbouring jurisdictions to share support and resources in an emergency
- Investing in a Light Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team in Thunder Bay so that specialized equipment and resources can be more quickly deployed in an emergency
- Supporting municipalities in accessing critical supplies and resources in an emergency by improving the supply chain and logistics program, and enhance information and resource sharing among municipalities and the province by deploying emergency management software.
These actions are the first step in Ontario's Emergency Management Action Plan. We will continue to work with our emergency management partners to build a system that is collaborative, proactive, and able to adapt to the unique circumstances of communities across the province."