The Ontario Mass Evacuation Plan is a supporting plan to the Provincial Emergency Response Plan (PERP). This plan supports the agreement between the Governments of Ontario and Canada (through the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada) to provide emergency response support to First Nation communities in the province. An EMO planning team in consultation with non-governmental organizations, provincial and federal partners developed the plan. This plan is meant to be used to respond to a request for a partial or complete evacuation from one or more communities to one or more host communities. This plan is for Ontario’s far north, encompassing municipalities, unorganized territories2 and First Nation communities.
This is an overarching plan for carrying out mass evacuations and as such, many aspects are general in nature4.
Potential threats to the communities and emergency responders are critical in determining the urgency of the evacuation and for planning resource mobilization. Real-time threat assessment should be ongoing and coordinated among partners, particularly ministries with relevant OIC responsibilities and the community(ies) at risk. The availability, duration, type, and location of host community facilities affect planning for the evacuation.
Depending on the scale and complexity of the operation, a senior provincial official may be deployed to coordinate the provincial response and to liaise with community and other deployed officials.
When planning for the return of evacuees, the number and location of host communities, and the distance to evacuated communities are key planning considerations.
Roles and responsibilities may pertain to transportation hubs, host communities, support from ministries or the federal government, or responsibilities of evacuating communities. Determine the financial and legislative roles and responsibilities for the evacuation and comply with applicable policies, agreements, procedures, etc.
Following the judgement of the authorized entity that it is safe for evacuees to return, the order of return and the methods of transportation must be established using an inclusive planning process that involves affected communities, provincial and federal partners, and other partners (i.e. All responders involved in managing the hazard or participating in the evacuation must regularly communicate situational awareness information to those conducting real-time threat assessments and must report a changing situation as soon as feasible.
OIC ministries are responsible for assessing the threat for the types of emergencies they have been assigned.
EMO is responsible for real-time threat assessments for hazards that have not been assigned to an OIC ministry. The PEOC is responsible for assessing the threat based on the real-time threat assessment and characteristics of the community(ies) or region under threat.
The decision to evacuate a community is the responsibility of the First Nation Chief, Head of Council, or appointed person. Evacuations may take place prior to (pre-emptive), during, or after an incident has occurred. Establish the PEOC Command, and if it is an area or unified command, consider including additional organizations in the command meetings to better inform and coordinate the response. Determine at the outset of the operations which organization will be responsible for information management and the manner in which information will be shared. Initiating media contacts or directing the appropriate position to do this according to established plans and procedures (e.g. Alerting other emergency responders in the province, including non-governmental organizations, that they may be requested to provide assistance. Weather, resource availability, and the scale of an incident can significantly affect the time required to mobilize resources.
Emergency information is primarily the community’s responsibility, but may be supplemented by the province according to the provisions of the Provincial Emergency Information Plan. The PEOC (or other EOC) may request deployments to fulfil specific incident management functions, as needed (e.g.
Where the scale of the incident, evacuation timeline, or availability of staff prevents the physical deployment of staff, relevant incident management functions may be performed remotely using available technology. Transportation planning for the evacuation will be undertaken by a joint planning team as described in Annex 7.
The PEOC should begin contingency planning with partners for longer-term evacuations if it appears likely that evacuees will be displaced from their community for longer than the period discussed below.


Planning for hosting evacuees builds on information already available (typically from the manifest).
Host communities are responsible for registering evacuees that are entering into their care. The Quick Reference Guide is a condensed version of the Ontario Mass Evacuation Plan Part 1: Far North. Disaster recovery risk assessment and business impact analysis (BIA) are crucial steps in the development of a disaster recovery plan. But, before we look at them in detail, we need to locate disaster recovery risk assessment and business impact assessment in the overall planning process.
The next section should define roles and responsibilities of DR recovery team members, their contact details, spending limits (for example, if equipment has to be purchased) and the limits of their authority in a disaster situation. These are essential in that they ensure employees are fully aware of DR plans and their responsibilities in a disaster, and DR team members have been trained in their roles and responsibilities as defined in the plans. This section defines the criteria for launching the plan, what data is needed and who makes the determination.
Technology DR plans can be enhanced with relevant recovery information and procedures obtained from system vendors. In addition, this plan references the Service Level Evacuation Standards1 developed by the Joint Emergency Management Steering (JEMS) Committee. Updates to the plan will be undertaken as required based on lessons learned from exercises and incident responses. It is a provincial coordination plan outlining how Ontario would coordinate its response and collaborate with federal and municipal governments, First Nations, non-governmental organizations, and ministry partners. This plan does not replace a community’s own emergency response plans, which should contain provisions for evacuations if they consider evacuations likely. A detailed action plan that addresses the specific scenario, hazard, and threat will still be required. If the evacuation is for one or a few communities, planning may be restricted to movements within the same general geographic area.
Therefore, planning should include post-hosting needs, such as financial reconciliation, demobilization support, and reports on issues to be resolved before hosting evacuees in the future.
This allows the incident management team, and all partners, to take informed, effective and consistent actions in a timely manner. These ministries have processes in place for transferring the responsibility for real-time threat assessment to specialists within their ministry when required. Depending on the scale of the incident, and the numbers and locations of persons to be evacuated, the needs may exceed the capacity of available resources. To do that, let us remind ourselves of the overall goals of disaster recovery planning, which are to provide strategies and procedures that can help return IT operations to an acceptable level of performance as quickly as possible following a disruptive event. In addition to using the strategies previously developed, IT disaster recovery plans should form part of an incident response process that addresses the initial stages of the incident and the steps to be taken.
Such plans provide a step-by-step process for responding to a disruptive event with steps designed to provide an easy-to-use and repeatable process for recovering damaged IT assets to normal operation as quickly as possible. This process can be seen as a timeline, such as in Figure 2, in which incident response actions precede disaster recovery actions.
During the incident response process, we typically become aware of an out-of-normal situation (such as being alerted by various system-level alarms), quickly assess the situation (and any damage) to make an early determination of its severity, attempt to contain the incident and bring it under control, and notify management and other key stakeholders. Here we can see the critical system and associated threat, the response strategy and (new) response action steps, as well as the recovery strategy and (new) recovery action steps. If your organisation already has records management and change management programmes, use them in your DR planning.
This would include: scheduling such that staff do not become overly fatigued by the operation and providing as much advance notice of scheduling as is possible given the nature of the incident.
In this situation, evacuations may need to be prioritized and contingency plans implemented. Emergency planners should assess proposed facilities based on location, capabilities, capacity, accessibility, and resources, as well as how they would route evacuee traffic.
Municipal departments involved in the development of the host facility plan may be able to provide resources to support the set-up and operation of a host facility.


Having established our mission, and assuming we have management approval and funding for a disaster recovery initiative, we can establish a project plan. Note: We have included emergency management in Figure 2, as it represents activities that may be needed to address situations where humans are injured or situations such as fires that must be addressed by local fire brigades and other first responders. It is in these plans that you will set out the detailed steps needed to recover your IT systems to a state in which they can support the business after a disaster.
Based on the findings from incident response activities, the next step is to determine if disaster recovery plans should be launched, and which ones in particular should be invoked. This section should specify who has approved the plan, who is authorised to activate it and a list of linkages to other relevant plans and documents. Included within this part of the plan should be assembly areas for staff (primary and alternates), procedures for notifying and activating DR team members, and procedures for standing down the plan if management determines the DR plan response is not needed. This plan supports the activities being undertaken related to mass evacuation planning for ministry and community emergency management programs.
Details on the set-up and operation of the shelter should be provided in the community’s emergency response plan. Each municipality has the responsibility for managing the record in accordance with the applicable legislation and their municipal policies.
A disaster recovery project has a fairly consistent structure, which makes it easy to organise and conduct plan development activity. The following section details the elements in a DR plan in the sequence defined by ISO 27031 and ISO 24762. A section on plan document dates and revisions is essential, and should include dates of revisions, what was revised and who approved the revisions.
If DR plans are to be invoked, incident response activities can be scaled back or terminated, depending on the incident, allowing for launch of the DR plans. Check with your vendors while developing your DR plans to see what they have in terms of emergency recovery documentation.
It draws linkages to various hazard management plans and procedures developed by ministries.
Unorganized territories, fly-in lodges and camps, and mining operations also fall into the plan area.
Emergency responders may require personal protective equipment, as responder safety will be critical. Important: Best-in-class DR plans should begin with a few pages that summarise key action steps (such as where to assemble employees if forced to evacuate the building) and lists of key contacts and their contact information for ease of authorising and launching the plan.
Once the plan has been launched, DR teams take the materials assigned to them and proceed with response and recovery activities as specified in the plans.
The more detailed the plan is, the more likely the affected IT asset will be recovered and returned to normal operation. Detailed response planning and the other key parts of disaster recovery planning, such as plan maintenance, are, however, outside the scope of this article so let us get back to looking at disaster recovery risk assessment and business impact assessment in detail. Located at the end of the plan, these can include systems inventories, application inventories, network asset inventories, contracts and service-level agreements, supplier contact data, and any additional documentation that will facilitate recovery. And since DR planning generates a significant amount of documentation, records management (and change management) activities should also be initiated. Learn how to develop disaster recovery strategies as well as how to write a disaster recovery plan with these step-by-step instructions. Those events with the highest risk factor are the ones your disaster recovery plan should primarily aim to address. Formulating a detailed recovery plan is the main aim of the entire IT disaster recovery planning project.



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