Ontario's Emergency Management System Made Stronger Following False Alarm at Pickering Nuclear Plant
TORONTO — Today, Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General, issued the following statement about the investigation into the emergency alert error:
"On the morning of January 12th, an emergency alert regarding the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station was sent across Ontario in error. Our government regrets the serious concern many people felt as a result of the alert.
In response, I called for a thorough and timely investigation into the circumstances of the error. The investigation is now complete, and the report has been received and reviewed. A copy of the report and an action plan, addressing its findings, are available on the ministry website.
As noted in the report, the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre performs routine testing of the public alerting system twice daily to ensure the alerting system is functional and available to issue an alert in the event of an emergency. On January 12th, one of these test messages was sent via the live public alerting system rather than the test system.
The investigation concluded that while the immediate cause was human error, there were several systemic issues that contributed to both the false alert and the delay in issuing a cancellation.
As I did on January 12th, I unreservedly apologize for the alarm and anxiety caused to people across the province and I want to assure the public that everything possible is being done to prevent a similar event in the future. Emergency Management Ontario has already taken significant corrective action in key areas, including planning, procedures, operations, communications and staff training.
Ontario's emergency response experts and its network of front-line emergency responders are world class and stand ready to respond to emergencies on any scale. I am confident the actions taken to address the gaps brought to light by this investigation will make Ontario's emergency management system even stronger.
Everyone contributes to a safe, secure and resilient Ontario and I encourage everyone to review their emergency plan and refresh their 72-hour emergency kit, so you are prepared in the event of an emergency. Get to know your community's emergency response plan as well. More information on preparations to keep your family safe in an emergency are available at Ontario.ca/beprepared."