Risk management aims to manage uncertainty and includes actions taken to identify, assess, monitor and reduce the impact of risks to your business.
This step involves analysing the likelihood and consequences of each identified risk using the measures provided. On the risk analysis matrix find the intersection of the likelihood and consequence ratings selected for the risk. Learn more about risk management and develop a risk management process as part of your day-to-day operations. Assessed risks are expressed as a Risk Assessment Code (RAC) which is a combination of one severity category and one probability level. Even if the existing control measures are adequate you need to regularly review whether anything has changed which may impact on the risk issues you have identified. However, there are some common categories which you can use to guide your thinking and the development of your risk management plan.
Threats and risks to Canadians and Canada are becoming increasingly complex due to the diversity of natural hazards affecting our country and the growth of transnational threats arising from the consequences of terrorism, globalized disease outbreaks, climate change, critical infrastructure interdependencies and cyber attacks. A SEMP establishes a federal government institution's objectives, approach and structure for protecting Canadians and Canada from threats and hazards in their areas of responsibility and sets out how the institution will assist the coordinated federal emergency response. 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. 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. The EM plans of federal government institutions should address the risks to critical infrastructure within or related to the institution's areas of responsibility, as well as the measures for protecting this infrastructure. A SEMP establishes a federal government institution's objectives, approach and structure for protecting Canadians and Canada from threats and hazards in their areas of responsibility, and sets out how the institution will assist the coordinated federal emergency response. 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. It includes 13 emergency support functions that the federal government can implement in response to an emergency.
The National Strategy and Action Plan for Critical Infrastructure establishes a public-private sector approach to managing risks, responding effectively to disruptions, and recovering swiftly when incidents occur. Emergency management (EM) refers to the management of emergencies concerning all hazards, including all activities and risk management measures related to prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
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. In the center of the wheel are the main elements that influence the development of a Strategic Emergency Management Plan (SEMP). Figure 1 highlights the four interdependent risk-based functions of EM: prevention and mitigation of, preparedness for, response to, and recovery from emergencies. This figure represents the optimal planning cycle federal institutions should consider for undertaking their emergency management planning activities.
May: Senior Institutional Management reviews year-end reports from the previous year's activities. September: Senior Institutional Management conducts mid-year check on progress of key performance objectives.
February: Senior Institutional Management makes decision regarding the institution's strategic priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.
Consider having members of the EM planning team designated by your institution's senior management.
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. Additionally, federal government institutions are responsible for conducting mandate-specific risk assessments, including risks to critical infrastructure. Understanding the internal context is essential to confirm that the risk assessment approach meets the needs of the institution and of its internal stakeholders.
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. When conducting a criticality assessment, it is important to be objective when prioritizing the importance of institutional assets, as not all assets are critical to an institution's operations. Adopting the current Treasury Board Policy related to material and asset management and coding criteria will help structure an effective approach. Traditionally, a threat assessment is an analysis of intent and capabilities in the occurrence of a threat. A vulnerability assessment looks at an inadequacy or gap in the design, implementation or operation of an asset that could enable a threat or hazard to cause injury or disruption. 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.
In this section, risks translate into events or circumstances that, if they materialize, could negatively affect the achievement of government objectives. Once the institution's context is clearly understood (refer to the environmental scan in Step 2-1), the next step is to find and recognize hazards, threats and possibly trends and drivers, and to describe them in risk statements.

Risks can be identified though several mechanisms: structured interviews, brainstorming, affinity grouping, risk source analysis, checklists and scenario analysis.
A risk register or log is used to record information about identified risks and to facilitate the monitoring and management of risks.
The objective of risk analysis is to understand the nature and level of each risk in terms of its impact and likelihood.
Qualitative analysis is conducted where non-tangible aspects of risk are to be considered, or where there is a lack of adequate information and the numerical data or resources necessary for a statistically significant quantitative approach.
The purpose of risk evaluation is to help make decisions about which risks need treatment and the priority for treatment implementation. Risk criteria are based on internal and external contexts and reflect the institution's values, objectives, resources and risk appetite (over-arching expression of the amount and type of risk an institution is prepared to take).
Risks can be prioritized by comparing risks in terms of their individual likelihood and impact estimates.
The risk-rating matrix allows for decisions to be made about which risks need treatment and the priority for treatment implementation. Risk treatment options can be prioritized by considering risk severity, effectiveness of risk controls, cost and benefits, the horizontal nature of the risk, and existing constraints.
Consider gathering a list of institutional risks and cross-referencing the existing plans (as identified in Step 2-1c) that address each risk. This step will contribute to the concept that sound EM decision-making can be based on an understanding and evaluation of hazards, vulnerabilities and related risks. Each institution should establish an EM governance structure to oversee the management of emergencies.
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. Consider developing an overview of these priorities and identifying potential areas for attention given risk probabilities and vulnerabilities. A good risk management plan with appropriate risk management strategies can minimise costly and stressful problems, and may also reduce insurance claims and premiums. Rate the effectiveness of existing controls in preventing the risk from eventuating or minimising its impact should it occur. Go to the legend on the risk analysis matrix and find the risk priority corresponding to the risk rating determined above. When you understand about potential risks, you can start developing risk minimisation strategies. In the risk analysis matrix select the description that best describes the likelihood of the risk occurring (with existing control measures in place). Pay attention to risk warning signs, this may even be anything that concerns you about business finances.
Emergencies can quickly escalate in scope and severity, cross jurisdictional lines, take on international dimensions and result in significant human and economic losses. Federal government institutions are increasing their focus on emergency management (EM) activities, given the evolving risk environment in their areas of responsibility. 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.
An All-Hazards Risk Assessment Framework and associated tools are also under development and will be included in a subsequent version of the Guide. 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. The Guide includes a Blueprint (see Annex A), a Strategic Emergency Management Plan (SEMP) template (see Annex B), and supporting step-by-step instructions, tools and tips to develop and maintain a comprehensive SEMP—an overarching plan that establishes a federal government institution's objectives, approach and structure, which generally sets out how the institution will assist with coordinated federal emergency management, including response. As such, federal institutions are to base EM plans on mandate-specific all-hazards risk assessments, as well as put in place institutional structures to provide governance for EM activities and align them with government-wide EM governance structures.
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. Each of these functions addresses a need that may arise before or during an emergency. It is intended that governments and industry partners will work together to assess risks to the sector, develop plans to address these risks, and conduct exercises to validate the plans. Those elements are as follows: Environmental Scan, Leadership Engagement, All-Hazards Risk Assessment, Training, Exercise, Capability Improvement Process, and Performance Assessment. Emergency Management resource requirements should be identified as early as possible to integrate into plans.
The SEMP should be central to the federal government institution's EM activities and provide clear linkages for integrating and coordinating all other intra-departmental and inter-departmental emergency management plans. Training is available to address EM requirements at the Canadian Emergency Management College (CEMC) and the Canada School of Public Service. Training is available to address EM requirements at the Canadian Emergency Management College (CEMC) and the Canada School of Public Service.
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 sets the time, scope and scale and contributes to adopting an approach that is appropriate to the situation of the institution and to the risks affecting the achievement of its objectives. 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. It is the environment in which the institution operates to achieve its objectives and which can be influenced by the institution to manage risk. All available threat assessments should ideally be reviewed by analyzing the assessment's evaluation of hostile capability, intentions and activity, the environment influencing hostile and potentially hostile groups, and environmental considerations, including natural, health and safety hazards. 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.

It provides improved insight into the effectiveness of risk controls already in place and enables the analysis of additional risk mitigation measures. A risk assessment should generate a clear understanding of the risks, including their uncertainties, their likelihood and their potential impact on objectives. Risks should be described in a way that conveys their context, point of origin and potential impact. Characterization of risks should use an appropriate breadth and scope; it can be difficult to establish a course of action to treat risks if the scope is too broad, while a scope that is too narrow will create too much information, thereby making it difficult to establish priorities.
A risk register will typically describe each risk, assess the likelihood that it will occur, list possible consequences if it does occur, provide a grading or prioritization for each risk, and identify proposed mitigation strategies.
Probabilistic methods provide more information on the range of risks and can effectively capture uncertainty, but require more data and resources. Additional information on analyzing likelihood and impact is provided in the Treasury Board Integrated Risk Management Framework Guidelines. Prioritization can be shown graphically in a logarithmic risk diagram, risk-rating matrix or other forms of visual representations.
In order to prioritize risks, comparison is made based on their likelihood and impact estimates.
Treatments that deal with negative consequences are also referred to as risk mitigation, risk elimination, risk prevention, risk reduction, risk repression and risk correction.
These treatment options, forming recommendations, would be used to develop the risk treatment step in the risk management or emergency management cycle. A sample cross-reference table of existing plans by identified institutional risks is provided in Annex C, Appendix 4.
The resulting SEMP building blocks will reflect strategic priorities—the desired balance between developing measures that respond to emergencies versus mitigating the risk.
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). Eliminate the risk by discontinuing the activity or removing the hazard such as not undertaking the activity that is likely to trigger the risk. The level and type of risk that you need to consider will vary with the type of business you operate. In the risk analysis matrix select the description that best describes the consequences of the risk (with existing control measures in place).
EM can save lives, preserve the environment and protect property by raising the understanding of risks and by contributing to a safer, more prosperous and resilient Canada. 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. Those federal government institutions that have mandated emergency support functions (ESFs) under the FERP should have these clearly identified.
Each institution has its own strategic and operational objectives, with each being exposed to its own unique risks, and each having its own information and resource limitations. An all-hazards approach to risk management does not necessarily mean that all hazards will be assessed, evaluated and treated, but rather that all hazards will be considered. The aim is to generate a comprehensive list of risks based on those events that might prevent, degrade or delay the achievement of objectives. Risks should be realistic, based on drivers that exist in the institution's operating environment. It can be a useful tool for managing and addressing risks, as well as facilitating risk communication to stakeholders.
Descriptive scales can be formed or adjusted to suit the circumstances, and different descriptions can be used for different risks.
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 one most commonly used is the risk matrix (Figure 4), which normally plots the likelihood and impact on the x- and y-axes (the measured components of risks). Commercial: includes the risks associated with market placement, business growth, diversification and commercial success. Through preventative maintenance, or quality assurance and management, change in business systems and processes. 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. It involves the identification of risk sources, areas of impact, events and their causes, as well as potential consequences. A risk portfolio or profile can be created from the register, helping to compile common risks in order to assess interdependencies and to prioritize groups of risks. Existing controls, the cost of further risk treatment and any policy requirement implications are considered when deciding on additional mitigation measures. Based on a risk diagram or rating matrix, a clustering of risks can be shown, leading to decisions on priorities.
Institutions may choose to assess a portfolio of risks, as opposed to specific individual risks, which enables a holistic review of risk treatment decisions. Such a plot can help establish acceptable or intolerable risk levels, and establish their respective actions.

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