Federal Emergency Preparedness and Response System

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1 Annex L Federal Emergency Preparedness and Response System Date of Latest Version: October 2006 Summary of Significant Changes: Reflects the establishment of the new department Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada and the creation of the new Public Health Agency of Canada. Specific references to the new National Emergency Response System and the Federal Emergency Response Plan.

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3 Table of Contents 1.0 The Federal System Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada Emergency Response Plan The Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response... 5 Annex L 1

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5 Annex L 1.0 The Federal System Traditionally, and in accordance with A Federal Policy for Emergencies, the responsibility to deal with emergencies is placed first on the individual and then on successive levels of government, as the resources and expertise of each are needed. This recognizes that when an emergency occurs people normally see to their own safety to the extent possible, and then they seek assistance from local and provincial or territorial governments if necessary. Those governments in turn seek federal support if an emergency moves beyond their capabilities. This assistance may entail the coordination of supplies and services for response and recovery activities, the deployment of the Canadian Forces to aid civil authorities or the allocation of financial assistance to the provinces and territories (P/Ts). The Government of Canada also works with local or regional authorities and coordinates the national response when the impacts of an emergency are mainly in areas that are clearly under federal jurisdiction, or when an event is clearly of national interest and interjurisdictional and/or international in nature. At the federal level, the Emergency Preparedness Act establishes the inherent responsibility of each federal minister to develop and implement emergency preparedness measures. This is the basis for the Government of Canada s emergency preparedness and management activities that have resulted in federal departments developing various response plans, such as the National Counter- Terrorism Plan, the Federal Nuclear Emergency Plan, the Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan and a number of other similar plans. Each of the P/Ts has its own emergency preparedness legislation that deals comprehensively with emergency management issues within their boundaries. Based on recent emergencies, including SARS, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the 1998 ice storm, the Canadian emergency management community has realized the importance of a whole of government response framework. Events in recent years have challenged governments at all levels and the private sector, stretching their abilities to cope with emergencies. These events have been studied extensively to determine the lessons learned and propose remedial action. Within this context, Canada has taken a number of initiatives, including the creation of a new department, the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC), the creation of a new agency, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the development of a National Security Policy, and is currently developing a National Emergency Response System (NERS) to better meet the range of events faced by Canadians. The Public Health Agency of Canada was created in response to growing concerns about the capacity of Canada s public health system to anticipate and respond quickly and effectively to public health threats. The Agency will provide a clear focal point for federal leadership and accountability in managing public health emergencies and improved collaboration within and among jurisdictions. The National Security Policy recognizes that addressing many threats and emergencies requires a coordinated approach with provinces, territories, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector and international partners. The policy sets out processes for engaging these partners in the development of coordinated plans to support the overall framework. Annex L 3

6 Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada is developing the NERS so that Canada is prepared and able to respond to all emerging, imminent or occurring national emergencies and threats in order to ensure the protection and safety of Canadians. As different threats and emergencies arise, either as the result of natural or deliberately caused events or disasters, the NERS is designed to coordinate federal actions and provide an integrated and complementary national response. Emergencies that are large and/or complex or that transcend provincial or international boundaries, such as a pandemic influenza, call for shared responsibilities. They also highlight the need for different or increased capacities and collaboration on all components of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. At the federal level, the health response to a pandemic will be mainly the responsibility of PHAC as the lead federal department with the division of provincial and territorial responsibilities as outlined in the current Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan. An event, such as pandemic influenza, will require a response that goes far beyond the health sector. The government of Canada has created a Deputy Ministers Committee on Pandemic Influenza Planning to examine what is being done in terms of planning for a potential influenza pandemic. The Deputy Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada co-chairs this committee with Canada s Chief Public Health Officer. The Committee provides direction to six working groups, ensuring that all key issues and gaps are identified and addressed. The six working groups will look at International issues, Federal Business Continuity and Human Resources Public Health and Emergency management, Communications, Economic and Social Impacts, and the Private Sector. However, the NERS will coordinate the broader federal response. Indeed, the aim of the NERS is to ensure the strategic coordination of federal mandates in a Government of Canada emergency response, concurrent to P/T activities. The NERS is based on the Incident Command System and in an emergency the coordination of federal mandates will be achieved through the Government Operations Centre (GOC). Leading the GOC will be a Federal Coordinating Officer, who will be provided by PSEPC, but there will also be a Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer, who will be provided by PHAC. At the regional level, a Federal Coordination Group (FCG), acting as an extension of the GOC, will facilitate the regional interdepartmental emergency operational level coordination. The role of the FCG includes the coordination of regional federal resources and emergency response activities, and the coordination between the provincial response centre and the GOC. These new agencies and systems will help ensure that federal leadership is exercised by making quick decisions, coordinating activities and resources at a strategic level, and communicating effectively with other federal entities, P/Ts, international organizations, NGOs, the private sector and the general public. All this must be accomplished while respecting P/T jurisdictions. From a national perspective, ensuring that authorities at all levels have a complementary framework for dealing with emergencies is a key preparedness objective. This is pivotal to public confidence and international credibility. 4 The Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan for the Health Sector

7 2.0 Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada Emergency Response Plan The Emergency Preparedness Act, 1988, requires all federal ministers to ensure that their departments, agencies or Crown Corporations have emergency preparedness plans to deal with civil emergencies related to their areas of accountability. For the federal health portfolio, the Minister of health is primarily accountable for developing and maintaining civil emergency plans for: public health protection, emergency health services and the well-being of Canadians; and coordination of the federal preparedness and response to nuclear emergencies not involving the hostile use of nuclear weapons in a declared war. 1 The Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada s Emergency Response Plan (PHAC/ HC ERP) identifies the federal health portfolio s functions as either the lead or support role in responding to emergencies, including its role in providing medical, scientific, technical advice, assistance, materiel, advisories, and alerts and warnings to the Canadian public. The Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada and the ERP are key elements in federal health portfolio s overall emergency preparedness program. The Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response will support organizational units 2 in the development of its plans to address emergencies that fall within its program areas. The PHAC/ HC ERP is a key element in the hierarchy of planning and response documents that includes the HC s Emergency Preparedness Policy, and individual organizational unit policies and plans. It represents a step in the development and articulation of the larger process and structure to manage PHAC s and HC s responses to a range of emergencies that could impact on the health and social well-being of Canadians. The PHAC/HC ERP is an all-hazards plan that defines the scope and framework within which the PHAC and HC operate to ensure an appropriate response to any emergency. It also provides connecting arrangements to hazard-specific plans and procedural guidelines for emergency staff. This ERP addresses the scope and nature of relationships at all levels within the federal health portfolio and provides a framework to develop individual plans to address specific issues. 3.0 The Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response The Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response (CEPR) has unique agency and departmental responsibilities in the areas of emergency preparedness and response, and it acts as PHAC s and HC s single window for all hazards preparedness and response operations. However, this does not circumvent organizational units from making their branch specific all-hazards preparedness, planning and training, and response operations. The CEPR staff is specifically responsible for interorganization coordination during agency and departmental response operations. The Director General of CEPR acts as the Emergency Manager, and CEPR provides key staff to the response effort. During responses, the Emergency Manager reports to the Deputy Chief Public Health Officer and the Associate Deputy Minister (ADM) of HC through appropriate channels. The CEPR manages and maintains the health portfolio s Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), the major infrastructure resource in support of response activities. The CEPR is also responsible for control and maintenance of the National Emergency Stockpile System (NESS). This reserve of 1 Federal Nuclear Emergency Response Plan 2 The term organizational unit will be used throughout this document to refer to centres, directorates, branches, programs and other equivalent organizations led by a manager at the Director General level. Annex L 5

8 medical resources such as hospital equipment and pharmaceuticals could be critically important in a major response effort. For further information on PHAC/HC Emergency Response Plan please contact: Director Office of Emergency Preparedness, Planning and Training Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response Public Health Agency of Canada Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9 6 The Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan for the Health Sector

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