Emergency Management Programs

Emergency Management is necessary to improve public safety and security through the creation of disaster-resilient communities. This is accomplished by structuring programs based on the four pillars of emergency management: mitigation/prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

Mitigation and prevention: involves activities which reduce or eliminate the effects of an emergency. Mitigation assumes that society is exposed to risk whether or not an emergency occurs.

Preparedness: involves actions taken prior to an emergency to ensure an effective response including, but not limited to, public education, emergency information, training and exercises, preparing plans and operation centres, and establishing communications systems.

Response involves actions taken to respond to an emergency. Such actions in the context of an influenza pandemic would include the distribution of vaccine (once available), mobilizing human, financial, and supply resources, and emergency declarations.

Recovery involves actions taken to recover from the emergency. These activities include such elements as returning the community and response agencies to a pre-emergency phase and rebuilding/restocking of supplies initiatives.


On June 20, 2006, an Act to amend the Emergency Management Act, the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 received Royal Assent becoming the new provincial Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

The new legislation amends the definition of emergency to include danger caused by disease or health risk. However, the primary purpose of the new legislation is to provide emergency powers to the Province (Lieutenant Govenor in Council and the Premier) to deal with emergencies.

As with the former Emergency Management Act, it is mandatory for all jurisdictions in Ontario to have Emergency Management Programs. These Programs are regulated by the Office of the Fire Marshall and Emergency Management  (OFMEM), a branch of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Emergency Management Programs must contain the following standards:

  • Designation of a Community Emergency Management Coordinator (CEMC)
  • Formation of an emergency management program committee
  • Publication of an approved emergency response plan
  • Development of an appropriate community emergency operations centre (EOC)
  • Identification of critical infrastructure and hazards.
  • Annual training for the community control group and emergency operations centre staff
  • Annual exercise to evaluate the emergency response plan
  • Identification of individuals to act as emergency information staff
  • Development and implementation of an emergency management public awareness program
  • Annual review of the emergency management program

In addition to the Regional Emergency Management Program, each area municipality also has a Program to develop prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery initiatives for their own distinct community.

The Community Emergency Management Coordinators (CEMCs) in Waterloo Region work together to provide efficient, effective and timely emergency management programs, such as: joint training exercises; designated talk groups; and training in WebEOC (emergency event management software).

The Community Emergency Management Coordinators in Waterloo Region are:

Region of Waterloo Manager Emergency Management Office (EMO)/CEMC 
City of Cambridge Gina Cliffe, Manager Emergency Services and Administration/CEMC
City of Kitchener Steve LaRochelle, Manager Emergency Management & Business Continuity/CEMC
City of Waterloo Richard Hepditch, Fire Chief/CEMC
Township of North Dumfries Robert Shantz, Fire Chief/CEMC
Township of Wellesley Paul Redman Fire Chief/CEMC
Township of Wilmot CEMC
Township of Woolwich Avril Tanner, CEMC
City of Cambridge|City of Kitchener|City of Waterloo|Township of North Dumfries|Township of Wellesley|Township of Wilmot|Township of Woolwich
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