The development and employment of a SEMP is an important complement to such existing plans, because it promotes an integrated and coordinated approach to emergency management planning within federal institutions and across the federal government.
Federal government institutions in the early stages of developing a SEMP may find it useful to read the material in Sections One and Two, while other institutions with more established plans may wish to proceed directly to Section Three. Supporting templates and tools can contribute to effective emergency management planning and are provided with this Guide.
The Emergency Management Planning Guide uses a step-by-step approach and provides instructions that are supplemented by the Blueprint and the Strategic Emergency Management Plan (SEMP) template provided in Annexes A and B, respectively. The Emergency Management Planning Unit, Public Safety Canada, is responsible for producing, revising and updating this Guide.
The purpose of this Guide is to assist federal officials, managers and coordinators responsible for emergency management (EM) planning. Given this variety of EM planning documents, the distinctions between them are summarized in the following table. It outlines the processes and mechanisms to facilitate an integrated Government of Canada response to an emergency and to eliminate the need for departments to coordinate a wider Government of Canada response. Operational plans may be based on all four pillars of EM planning, or focus on the specific activities of a single pillar. The Emergency Management Continuum is depicted in a wheel diagram where all four risk-based functions of emergency management are interconnected and interdependent in a system from prevention and mitigation to preparedness, response, and recovery. Figure 1 highlights the four interdependent risk-based functions of EM: prevention and mitigation of, preparedness for, response to, and recovery from emergencies.
The SEMP should ideally be reviewed on a cyclical basis as part of a federal government institution's planning cycle, as presented in Figure 2 below. This figure represents the optimal planning cycle federal institutions should consider for undertaking their emergency management planning activities. Please note that Step 5 is presented under Section Four: Implementing and Maintaining the SEMP.
This step involves starting the formal planning process in recognition of the responsibility to prepare a SEMP. Consider having members of the EM planning team designated by your institution's senior management. One of the most crucial steps in the EM planning process is to identify appropriate members for the EM planning team.
Consider including a member of your institution's corporate planning area on the EM planning team in order to help align the EM planning cycle with the institution's overall business planning cycle. Federal government institutions should consider identifying the range of experience and skill sets required in the EM planning team.
The composition of the EM planning team will vary depending on institutional requirements; however, it is important that clear terms of reference (TOR) for the team be established and that individual assignments be clearly defined.
After the EM planning team has clear authority and direction, the next step is to review any relevant existing legislation and policies. As noted in Section Two, the EM planning process should be carried out as part of an institution's overall strategic and business planning processes—this will support their alignment. As a next step, federal government institutions should consider developing a comprehensive understanding of the planning context. Additional supporting planning tools and templates as well as an EM glossary are provided in Annexes C and D, respectively.
As part of the environmental scan, the institution defines the internal and external parameters to be taken into account when managing the risk and setting the scope and risk criteria for the remaining risk assessment process. The Planning Context is represented in a target diagram that consists of three circles representing the factors federal institutions should consider in order to understand the context in which it operates and how it could potentially be affected.


During this process, consider conducting a full review and analysis of stakeholder documentation and reports. An inventory of critical assets and services will assist the planning team in identifying the associated threats, hazards, vulnerabilities and risks unique to their institution. If a business impact analysis (BIA) has already been completed for your federal government institution's BCP, this analysis can greatly inform your criticality assessment.
Risk assessment is central to any risk management process as well as the EM planning cycle.
The output of the risk assessment process is a clear understanding of risks, their likelihood and potential impact on achieving objectives. The all-hazards risk assessment (AHRA) process should be open and transparent while respecting the federal institution's context. This step focuses on developing an informed EM approach for your institution based on the four pillars of EM. In identifying members of your institution's EM governance structure, keep in mind the relationship between your institution's mandate and the four pillars of EM. It is important that the planning team confirm the strategic priorities of the institution and of senior management so that they can be reflected in the SEMP.
The planning team should aim to clearly identify the planning constraints and institutional limitations that will influence the SEMP building blocks and the subsequent development of the SEMP.
Review Current Written Business Continuity Plans and Materials: This review will consist of a comparison of the present Business Continuity Plan Manuals and Supporting Materials against applicable corporate policies, procedures and applicable requirements. We concentrate on assisting client management in developing a Business Continuity Management Plan to facilitate response to a variety of potentially disruptive situations faced by the client.
Upon completion of the initial four phases of the Business Continuity Plan program, Prudential Associates assists the client through periodic third party assessment and monitoring of the effectiveness of the Business Continuity Plan, Level of Training and Plan Validation process.
This is why Public Safety Canada has developed this Emergency Management Planning Guide, which is intended to assist all federal government institutions in developing their all-hazards Strategic Emergency Management Plans (SEMPs). Many federal government institutions already have specific planning documents or processes to deal with aspects of emergency management that relate to their particular mandates; many also have a long track record of preparing and refining BCPs.
As a matter of process, the Emergency Management Planning Guide will be reviewed annually or as the situation dictates, and amendments will be made at that time. It reflects leading practices (such as those provided by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and Canadian Standards Association) and procedures within the Government of Canada, and should be read in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Response Plan, the Emergency Management Framework for Canada and the Federal Policy for Emergency Management. It should integrate and coordinate elements identified in operational plans and business continuity plans (BCPs). Those elements are as follows: Environmental Scan, Leadership Engagement, All-Hazards Risk Assessment, Training, Exercise, Capability Improvement Process, and Performance Assessment. In order to effectively depict the cycle, the four seasons are placed in a wheel diagram showing how spring, summer, fall, and winter are interconnected and continuously flow into one circle.
The upcoming year's critical objectives are indentified with input from the various Working Groups and the appropriate Business Lines. Inputs should ideally be assembled, reviewed and well understood prior to engaging in each distinct planning activity as they form an important foundation for the work to be completed. The size and composition of the team may vary between federal government institutions; however, the planning team should ideally have the skill and experience necessary to develop the SEMP. After completing the above steps, the planning team should consider developing a detailed work plan that includes a schedule with realistic timelines, milestones that reflect the institutional planning cycle, and a responsibility assignment matrix with assigned tasks and deadlines. It entails a process of gathering and analyzing information and typically considers both internal and external factors (see Figure 3: The Planning Context for additional information on the factors to consider). The key to any emergency planning is awareness of the potential situations that could impose risks on the organization and on Canadians and to assess those risks in terms of their impact and potential mitigation measures.


If gaps are identified, these should ideally be gathered and presented as part of Step 3 when developing the EM Planning Framework and confirming the institution's strategic EM priorities. A threat awareness collection process should ideally link to the federal institution's information requirements and available resources. It is a formal, systematic process for estimating the level of risk in terms of likelihood and consequences for the purpose of informing decision-making.
Subject matter experts can also assist in evaluating likelihood from a qualitative perspective, for instance by using a Delphi technique (a group communication process for systematic forecasting). The EM planning governance structure may include representatives of an institution's senior management team, from all functional areas (such as programs) and all corporate areas (including communications, legal services and security).
It is also crucial that roles and responsibilities, lines of accountability and decision-making processes be aligned and well understood by all concerned. For example, an institution can be constrained by the availability of training for EM planning team members and by the number of EM positions they have staffed.
The joint team will also analyze the client’s current overall business continuity management planning efforts.
The evaluation program, presented herein, is designed to assess the ability of management and response personnel to complete the sequence of critical tasks, under a business disruption condition, using available resources as outlined in the plan and associated materials. It does not lay out the requirements for preparing related EM protocols, processes, and standard operating procedures (SOP) internal to the institution; however, these should be developed in support of the SEMP and related plans.
As outlined in the Preface, many federal government institutions already have specific plans or processes to deal with aspects of emergency management; many also have a long track record of preparing and refining BCPs, which endeavour to ensure the continued availability of critical services. Planning can be triggered by the EM planning cycle or it can be initiated in preparation for, or in response to, an event that is induced either by nature or by human actions.
Notwithstanding the blueprint provided, this step is not proposed as a linear process, but rather as a set of related components and activities that can be undertaken in the sequence that best suits the institution. This process will add the extra assurance that your institution is linked in with partner agencies and others to assist in developing the broader environmental picture and in identifying EM-related interdependencies. Risk evaluation is the process of comparing the results of the risk analysis against risk criteria to determine whether the level of risk is acceptable or intolerable. The BIA is a diagnostic survey that consists of issue analyses, risk identification, and assessment of potential business impacts and crisis situations.
Prudential Associates is a network of qualified and experienced business continuity and emergency management professionals who stand ready to meet any business continuity needs including assessments, planning, training, and emergency response and recovery. EM planning, in particular, aims to strengthen resiliency by promoting an integrated and comprehensive approach that includes the four pillars of EM: prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. In addition, there are other existing EM planning documents and initiatives that apply to a range of federal government institutions, such as the Federal Emergency Response Plan (FERP) and deliverables under the National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure. Stakeholders may include First Nations, emergency first responders, the private sector (both business and industry), and volunteer and non-government organizations. This part of the process consists of three main activities: risk identification, risk analysis and risk evaluation. The diagnostic survey assists us to determine the client current capabilities, level of training, and categorization of potential business disruption situations.



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