The Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act is the legislation in Ontario that provides municipalities and their staff with the authority to respond to a local disaster or crisis, under an emergency declaration.
An emergency is defined in the Act as “a situation or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise”. The County of Lambton declared an emergency during the multi-municipal / agency response to the Highway #402 Snowsquall Emergency of December 2010.
The Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act also requires that municipalities develop and maintain local emergency management programs that must include:
- Appointment of a Community Emergency Management Co-ordinator (CEMC) to oversee the development of the local emergency program.
- Development and publication of an emergency response plan approved by By-law. View the Emergency Response Plan.
- Identification of local hazards and risks (assessed on the severity of the consequence and the likelihood of occurrence).
- Identification of local critical infrastructure (i.e. pipelines, electrical system, water treatment and supply etc.).
- Development of a public education program to inform residents about local risks and hazards, and what steps they can take to be prepared should a disaster occur.
- Identification of an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) for use during a crisis or emergency.
- Annual training and emergency preparedness exercises for staff and response partners.
The Act also clearly defines the powers of the Province and the Premier during an emergency:
- The Premier may exercise any power or perform any duty conferred upon a provincial minister or employee;
- If the emergency area or any part of it is within the jurisdiction of a municipality, the Premier may direct and control the administration, facilities and equipment of the municipality in the emergency area and the actions by the municipality may be subject to the direction and control of the Premier;
- The Premier may require any municipality to provide any assistance considered necessary to any emergency area, and may by order direct and control the provision of such assistance.
The Act provides for the issuance of emergency orders during an emergency declared by the Premier. Orders may be made in respect of the following:
- The implementation of any emergency plans.
- The regulation or prohibition of travel to, from or within any specified area.
- The evacuation of individuals and the removal of personal property from any specified area and the making of arrangements for the adequate care and protection of individuals and property.
- The establishment of facilities for the care, welfare, safety and shelter of individuals, including emergency shelters and hospitals.
- The closure of any place, whether public or private, including any business, office, school, hospital or other establishment or institution.
- To prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of the emergency, the construction of works, the restoration of necessary facilities and the requisition, use, destruction, removal or disposition of property.
- The collection, transportation, storage, processing and disposal of any type of waste.
- The authorization of facilities, including electrical generating facilities, to operate as is necessary to respond to or alleviate the effects of the emergency.
- The use of any necessary goods, services and resources within any part of Ontario.
The procurement of necessary goods, services and resources, the distribution, availability and use of necessary goods, services and resources and the establishment of centres for their distribution.
- The fixing of prices for necessary goods, services and resources and the prohibition against charging unconscionable prices in respect of necessary goods, services and resources.
- The authorization of any person, or any person of a class of persons, to render services of a type that that person, or a person of that class, is reasonably qualified to provide.
- The requirement that any person collect, use or disclose information that in the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor in Council may be necessary in order to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of the emergency.
- The taking of such other actions or implementing such other measures as the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary in order to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of the emergency.
Other highlights of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act:
- A declaration of a state of emergency would end 14 days after it is declared unless the Premier declares an earlier end to it or it is extended by Cabinet for an additional 14 day period.
- If recommended by the Premier, the legislature can extend the emergency for additional periods of no more than 28 days.
- The Premier would have to report to the legislature within 120 days after an emergency ended to explain the criteria used to declare the emergency.
- The legislature may disallow a declaration of a state of emergency by resolution.
- Fines may be rendered of up to $10 million for corporations, $500,000 for directors and officers, and $100,000 for individuals, for failing to comply with an emergency order or interfering with a person acting under an emergency order. Fines may be increased for those who profited from the offence.
The County of Lambton first met the Essential Level of preparedness on December 31, 2004, as required by Ontario Regulation 380/04, and continues to develop its emergency management program.
A key component of the County's emergency management program is fostering public awareness of local hazards and risks, and how citizens can prepare to respond to emergencies related to those risks.
Please visit the Emergency Preparedness page of this website to see a list of topics related to emergency preparedness.
At the September 7, 2005 meeting of County Council, EMO Area Officer Steve Beatty presented certificates of completion to all of Lambton's communities. Pictured here in 2005, is then-Warden Pat Davidson receiving Lambton County's certificate from Mr. Beatty. Legislation requires that communities be certified each year.