The City of Toronto recognizes the important role that private sector organizations play in emergency management.

From conducting business continuity planning to supporting the City’s efforts to respond to and recover from events, private sector organizations are key partners in ensuring the readiness and resiliency of Toronto. Private sector organizations operate and maintain a portion of the City’s critical infrastructure, such as food, telecommunications systems and financial services – so it is especially important for these types of organizations to have systems and strategies in place to continue delivering their essential services during an emergency. Private sector organizations also play an important role in increasing the personal preparedness of their employees, such as encouraging staff to have an emergency plan for their families and to maintain an emergency kit.

Get Emergency Ready Guides

Toronto’s Office of Emergency has developed a series of Get Emergency Ready guides to support Torontonians to take steps to be prepared for emergencies. You can use these guides to help prepare your organization for an emergency, as well as to promote personal preparedness for your employees and volunteers.

Partners in Preparedness Newsletter for Private Sector Organizations

Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management launched the quarterly Partners in Preparedness newsletter for private sector partners in 2018.

Join the Distribution List

July 2019 Edition – Print Version

New Preparedness Resources

The City of Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management recently launched its Partners in Preparedness website with links to tools, resources and information to support organizations in preparing their employees, volunteers, services and facilities for emergencies.

In addition to sending out the Partners in Preparedness newsletters to people that have signed-up to receive them, the Office of Emergency Management also posts each issue on this website.

The website also includes links to the Office of Emergency Management’s new emergency preparedness videos. This video series aims to support Torontonians to take steps to be prepared for emergencies. There are five videos in total, covering the following topics:

You can continue to check out the Partners in Preparedness website for the links to the latest resources and information from the Office of Emergency Management.

City of Toronto releases its first Resilience Strategy

Cities—similar to any individual or organization—are faced with two types of challenges: shocks and stresses. Shocks are sudden events that are immediate threats to wellbeing like natural disasters or loss of essential services. Stresses are chronic problems like economic inequality and housing shortages. To be resilient, we need to prepare to weather shocks and overcome stresses.

This year, the City of Toronto released Toronto’s first ever Resilience Strategy. The strategy is designed to help our city become a more equitable, liveable, prosperous and resilient place where every Torontonian can thrive. Actions in the Resilience Strategy are organized into three focus areas:

  • People & Neighbourhoods
  • Infrastructure
  • Leading a Resilient City.

Each focus area contains a series of goals and specific actions, which are the most critical projects Toronto must undertake to achieve resilience. Specific priority actions are things like retrofitting apartment towers, making investments to combat flooding, and providing support and tools to residents to make their homes and communities more resilient.

You can learn more about resilience, the City of Toronto’s new Resilience Strategy, and what you can do to help your community thrive at

Planning for a Championship

During the Raptors versus Golden State playoff series, many of the City’s departments, Boards and Commissions worked behind the scenes with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) on safety and security considerations for both home and away games. During the process, many synergies were identified and collaboration amongst both internal and external partners were both formed and tested. This assisted the planning teams with operational plan adjustments, and with information exchange to maintain situational awareness despite the changing dynamics of the game outcomes themselves.

To ensure business continuity throughout the city during the playoffs, resources were strategically placed downtown, while others were excluded from the downtown core to maintain business continuity. An Incident Management System (IMS) structure was formed, and daily briefing cycle briefings were held to confirm logistics surrounding road closures, public messaging, area impacts and resource deployments. Throughout the experience, plans were executed, reviewed and adapted to meet operational demands. The network of partnerships involved worked together to help keep Toronto safe, both for those attending the celebrations and for those visiting the city during this monumental event.

The Incident Management System

The Ontario Incident Management System (IMS) is a response system. It was created to give organizations a common framework so they can cooperate, communicate and coordinate their work during an incident.

An incident is often an emergency, but it can also be a planned event such as a parade. Whether an incident is small or large, IMS can help organizations work more effectively.

IMS includes guidance for all aspects of coordinating a response including:

  • Support to the site or overall incident response
  • Coordination of incident response efforts
  • Command of response efforts
  • Communication

It can be used at an incident site, an emergency operations centre (EOC) or wherever incident coordination and support takes place.

IMS is for:

  • All levels of government, Indigenous partners, NGOs and private sector partners.
  • Everyone involved in managing an incident including:
    • Responders and others at the site of an incident who use the IMS site management system. This includes first responders such as paramedics but also includes social services and public works.
    • Leadership, staff and volunteers who help support sites or coordinate a non-site based incident through Emergency Operation Centres and Control Groups.
    • Those involved in creating and sharing official communications. This includes everything from press conferences to social media.
    • People who manage resources such as emergency shelters.

Did You Know…

The Province offers a free on-line course on an Introduction to the Incident Management System. This course is designed to teach you the basic functions, concepts and principles of the IMS.

Building on Best Practices – Emergency Management for Client Properties and Facilities

City of Toronto Corporate Security is conducting research into the delivery of emergency management programs at client properties. We are looking for municipalities and property management groups to participate in benchmarking surveys and discussions.

Information of interest includes what types of properties your organization is responsible for, what the emergency management program for those properties looks like, and details regarding emergency exercises at those properties.

Are you interested in participating?  We will be happy to share our findings. Please contact Michael Tippett at

TFS – Familiarization Tours

Did you know that you can request Toronto Fire Services Operations crews to attend your building/complex to conduct a familiarization tour. This provide crews with a better idea of the layout of the building/complex including fire safety equipment, locations of standpipes, etc.

These tours assist the fire crews in case an emergency were to ever occur in these buildings/complexes.

To request a building familiarization tour you can call the on duty Toronto Fire Services Platoon Chief who will arrange this.

There are four Platoon Chiefs on duty each day located in the north, east, west and south parts of Toronto.

For buildings/complexes located in the:

North part of Toronto call 416-338-9010.

East part of Toronto call 416-338-9020.

West part of Toronto call 416-338-9040.

South part of Toronto call 416-338-9030.

Watches and Warnings – Do You Know Your Weather?

This summer, forecasters will be on the lookout for more outbreaks of severe weather, and when extreme weather looms in Canada, there is a progression of statements, watches and warnings issued to inform and protect the public.

Here is a guide to those alerts.

When active weather is expected or occurring, but there’s no current indication that conditions will be severe or extreme, Environment Canada issues a Special Weather Statement.

This is a text statement, giving forecasters a chance to explain unusual conditions or weather of concern that a region may soon experience – heavy rainfall, thunderstorms, strong winds, and/or high humidex values.

Beyond weather of concern, there are times when the forecast indicates that conditions are favourable for severe weather, but it has not yet developed.

In order to alert the public of this potential, while at the same time ensuring that they do not cause unwarranted alarm, a Watch is issued.

When conditions advance past simply having the potential for severe weather, and severe weather is actually developing or occurring, forecasters issue a Warning.

Getting the message out.

When Environment and Climate Change Canada alerts Canadians to risky conditions, The Weather Network distributes those warnings on this website, on television, on smartphones through our apps, by text messages and to other broadcasters through the Alert Ready public-safety messaging system.

Floods, Fires – How We dentify Risk

The Province’s Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) has just released two updated Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) products.  The new products include:

  • Hazard Identification Report 2019: Provides a comprehensive overview for each identified hazard that impacts or has the potential to impact Ontario.
  • Methodology Guidelines 2019: Provides a recommended method for conducting hazard identification and risk assessments. This is a new addition to HIRA products.

Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management will be looking to adopt the new guidelines to its existing HIRA process. The HIRA is designed to help the City of Toronto and partner agencies identify, understand, and evaluate the key hazards that have the potential to result in an emergency that would negatively impact residents, services and critical infrastructure.

Both products are available at

April 2019 Edition – Print Version

The Yonge Street Van Attack: One Year Later

April 23, 2019 marked the one year anniversary of the Yonge Street van attack. 10 people were killed and 16 were injured after a rented van was deliberately driven onto the sidewalk, striking numerous pedestrians on a sunny Toronto afternoon.

Immediately following the attack, many Yonge Street businesses opened their doors to the public and emergency responders to support the response efforts.

In the face of the tragedy, day-to-day business on that strip of Yonge Street was forced to return to normal almost immediately. Months later, some say a deeper sense of community has taken root because of the shared trauma and the necessity to move forward.

For many in the community, the hardest part was in the days that followed — returning to a daily routine after what had happened.

In response to this tragic event the City of Toronto continues to revise our plans and procedures for dealing with potential mass casualty events. Our Partners in Preparedness initiative was launched shortly after the attack to engage both the private sector and critical infrastructure owners. Our membership has grown to over 300 partners and it is our goal to strengthen these relationships in planning for, responding to, and recovering from extreme events.

Emergency Preparedness Week – Are you Ready?

Emergency Preparedness Week is an annual event encouraging Canadians to be prepared to protect themselves and their families during emergencies. This year, Emergency Preparedness Week runs from May 5 – 11.

While governments at all levels are working hard to keep Canada safe, everyone has a role to play in being prepared for an emergency; and being prepared means having the knowledge and equipment necessary to better cope during an emergency.

Emergency Preparedness Week encourages all Canadians to take three simple steps: know the risks, make a plan and prepare an emergency kit.

Emergency Preparedness Week is also a great opportunity for companies and organizations to ensure they are ready for an emergency. Your organization can use this event as an opportunity to kick start your emergency management program.

If you already have a program, you can work with your employees to find ways to improve your organization’s emergency readiness. For example, you can take some time during Emergency Preparedness Week to review your plan to make sure it’s up-to-date, provide training to help staff get familiar with your organization’s emergency procedures or hold a drill to give everyone a chance to practice using the response procedures.

Here are some materials that you can use to promote Emergency Preparedness Week in your organization:

Stop the Bleed

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is Canada’s home for Stop the Bleed, a training program that provides people with the tools and knowledge to stop life-threatening bleeding.

Massive bleeding can result from a workplace injury, road collision or violent incident. A person can bleed to death in four to five minutes, so it is important to provide quick and appropriate support. Bystanders are often the first responders during an emergency — and the help given by an immediate responder can make the difference between life and death, even before professional first responders arrive on scene.

Stop the Bleed is an initiative of the American College of Surgeons, started in 2015 in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. It aims to encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

In 2017, Sunnybrook became the first hospital in Canada to offer the training. So far, Sunnybrook has trained 1500 people, including the general public, high school students and people that work in major public venues and landmarks. Interest in the program continues to grow, especially after recent mass casualty events in Toronto.

Sunnybrook offers the course onsite at its Bayview campus on the fourth Tuesday of almost every month. Sunnybrook also offers private courses for companies, organizations and high school students. All courses are taught by regulated health care professionals. For more information on how to get trained, visit Sunnybrook’s Stop the Bleed website.

Fire Safety

Toronto Fire Services provides information for building supervisory staff regarding and their responsibilities as it relates to fire safety and the Ontario Fire Code. This includes but is not limited to the following information:

  • prevention – tips to prevent fires that begin as a result of unattended cooking, candles and smoking
  • detection – regular maintenance of fire alarm systems, sprinklers and smoke and carbon alarms in units
  • escape – ensuring exits are clear, procedures are in place, door closers are functional, and regular fire drills are held

The Importance of Powerline Safety

As extreme weather increases in frequency, it’s more important than ever to ensure Torontonians are prepared to handle the resulting dangers of severe storms. With Powerline Safety Week taking place May 13-17, Toronto Hydro, in partnership with the City of Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management, Toronto Police Service and the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA), are educating the public about the dangers posed by downed powerlines, poles and trees.

Between April and September in 2018, five major storms swept through Toronto and the GTA causing downed trees and powerlines and leaving a combined total of 175,000 customers without power. As a result, approximately 1,215 downed wires and 354 downed poles were reported last year.

While extreme weather events are becoming more frequent, research shows public awareness about powerline safety has decreased. In a recent survey conducted by Toronto Hydro, only 35% of people correctly identified the minimum safe distance to keep back from a downed wire – which is 10 metres, or the length of a school bus.

It’s critical for the public to know that every downed wire should be treated as a live wire that can electrify the ground. If a downed powerline is encountered, it should be immediately reported to Toronto Hydro at 416-542-8000 and to 9-1-1. To raise awareness and educate people about powerline safety, Toronto Hydro trucks and TTC buses will be wrapped with eye-catching graphics as part of a new campaign called Downed Lines are Deadly. For more information about powerline safety, visit

New Personal Preparedness Video

The Office of Emergency is excited to announce the release of a new personal preparedness video. This video provides tips on how to prepare for emergencies, such a making a plan and preparing a kit. Stay tuned as the Office of Emergency Management launches more videos on important preparedness topics over the next few months.

Partner Highlight

Since 2009, PATHcomm has been providing “real time” emergency communications to over 30 private sector properties and emergency services partners, helping to enhance security awareness in the City’s busiest area while increasing effective management and coordinated responses during emergencies. By leveraging a functional, two-way, interoperable communication platform, PATHcomm members are able to heighten their “situational awareness” so that resource deployment and decision making can be based on timely, accurate and reliable information. PATHcomm’s continued growth and success is a testament to its commitment to public/private partnerships and has been recognized as a best practice by law enforcement partners and industry experts including international security management organization ASIS.

Business Continuity Awareness Week – May 13-17, 2019

Business continuity planning is the product of three simple questions:

  1. What could go wrong?
  2. If something were to go wrong, how would it affect business operations?
  3. If business operations were affected, how would services continue or be restored?

Disruptions impacting a business can occur in many forms; they may be planned or completely unexpected. By assessing your business’ risks and dependencies, you can have strategies in place before a disruption. Such assessments and strategies, known respectively as business impact assessments (BIAs) and business continuity plans (BCPs), are critical to your organization’s long-term health and viability.

Disruptions will occur and you can’t plan for everything. But a robust and adaptable business continuity program is key to preserving corporate reputation by ensuring your organization can remain resilient and operational in an increasingly interdependent world.

Upcoming Events Calendar

Date Event Name
2019-05-05 Toronto Marathon
2019-05-11 Meagan’s Walk
2019-05-12 Sporting Life 10k
2019-06-02 Ride for Heart – DVP, Gardiner & Exhibition Place
2019-06-09 Aga Khan Foundation Canada – World Partnership Walk
2019-06-14 2019 Taste of Little Italy – College Street
2019-06-14 NXNE Festival Village – Yonge-Dundas Square
2019-06-15 Toronto Waterfront 10K
2019-06-16 Yorkville Exotic Car Show
2019-06-21 Pride Toronto
2019-06-23 Pride Parade
2019-07-01 Canada Day Celebration
2019-07-05 Taste of Lawrence
2019-07-06 TD Salsa on St. Clair
2019-07-12 Beaches International Jazz Festival
2019-07-13 Bloor West Street Fest
2019-07-25 Beaches International Jazz Festival Street Fest
2019-07-27 Taste of the Middle East- Yonge-Dundas Square

Upcoming Key Dates

Contact Us

By email at

By phone at 416-392-4554

On Twitter at @TorontoOEM

March 2019 Edition – Print Version

Launching a New Newsletter

The City of Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management launched the Partners in Preparedness newsletter for private sector partners in 2018.

We have received good feedback from you on the newsletter – and we continue to have more groups sign up for our distribution list.

We are about to launch a version of the newsletter for community-based organizations, such as non-profit organizations and faith-based groups. The first issue will go out in March 2019.

If you any group that may benefit from receiving our newsletter for our community-based partners, please share this registration link.

You Are the Strongest Link

Every year, Toronto Paramedic Services responds to over 2,000 cardiac arrests.

Community members can save lives by doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using an automated external defibrillator (AED) prior to the paramedics arriving.

In the chain of survival, you are the strongest link. Early CPR and AED can increase the chance of survival for someone experiencing a cardiac arrest by up to 75%.

11 year old Omar’s life was saved by a member of the public. He went into cardiac arrest while playing soccer and was successfully resuscitated by someone who performed CPR and used an AED while waiting for the paramedics to arrive. You can learn more Omar’s story.

Toronto Paramedic Services’ Safe City can assist your business in being emergency ready by educating your employees on First Aid, CPR and how to use an AED. Toronto Paramedic Services can also assist with all aspects of placing and maintaining AED’s in your workplace, including training, monitoring and registering the AED with 911.

Find out more about Toronto Paramedic Services’ Safe City program by emailing or calling 416-392-9833.

And remember, you are the strongest link!


York Regional Police is proud to take the lead on educating individuals, community organizations and businesses on life-saving strategies that can be used in the event of an active attacker.

York Regional Police’s active attacker survival strategy Run, Hide, Defend provides tools that employers and community organizations can review with their staff to give them the best chance of survival in case of an attack. Individuals, businesses and community organizations can incorporate Run, Hide, Defend principles into emergency management and critical incident response plans they have already developed.

The risk of active attacks have unfortunately risen, both locally and abroad, with 40% of incidents taking place in commercial or institutional spaces. Developing specific strategies addressing prevention, preparedness, response and recovery for the possibility of an active attacker enhances everyone’s safety and improves organizational resiliency.

The Run, Hide, Defend principles are detailed in a scenario-based video and supporting documents, including posters and pamphlets that can be downloaded and posted within your business or organization. An Active Attacker Response Implementation Guide is also available.

For more information about the Run, Hide, Defend strategy, visit the York Regional Police’s website.

City of Toronto’s Incident Management System moves to the Cloud

In December 2018, the City of Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management migrated DisasterLAN (DLAN) – our web-based incident management software system – to the Cloud. This move allows user access to DLAN’s common operating picture, real-time incident updates, and situational awareness. This move allows 24/7 access from anywhere, using any web-enabled device.

DLAN has been configured to operate within the City’s IMS structure. It has the ability to streamline the flow of information throughout the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), and to electronically link the EOC with Divisional Operations Centres (DOCs), Emergency Site Incident Commanders, and other key officials, to manage both planned events and emergencies.

For information related to Toronto’s DLAN system please contact Laura James at

Join the City of Toronto Heat Relief Network

While we all eagerly await summer, the City of Toronto is already looking at ways to help residents keep cool when temperatures start to climb over the summer months. One of the easiest ways to avoid the health risks associated with summer heat is to find a place to cool down. In previous years, the City has had a Heat Relief Network made up of community centres, libraries and other public buildings where the public can cool off.

This year, the City of Toronto is expanding the Heat Relief Network by partnering with private and non-profit organizations. If your business has an accessible, air-conditioned indoor space that you can make available to the wider community throughout the summer season (May 15 – September 30), consider joining the City’s Heat Relief Network.

Your space will be featured in the City of Toronto’s interactive online map of Heat Relief Network locations and recognized as a neighbourhood resource for people looking to cool down. City staff will provide information and work with you to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have, in considering this partnership.

If your organization is interested in joining the City of Toronto Heat Relief Network, please reach out to Toronto Public Health Senior Project Manager Sonya Bourgeois at 416-338-7443 or

2019 Key Dates

  • Emergency Preparedness Week, May 5-11
  • Public Alerting Test, May 8
  • Business Continuity Awareness Week, May 13-17

Contact Us

James Kilgour, Director
Office of Emergency Management
Jennifer Smysnuik, Manager
Office of Emergency Management

December 2018 Edition – Print Version

The OEM Gets a New Home

At the end of October, a few organizational changes occurred at the City of Toronto. City Manager, Chris Murray, announced a realignment of some of the city’s services. As a result, the Office of Emergency Management was brought under the oversight of the Fire Chief and General Manager, Toronto Fire Services in an effort to reinforce an already solid relationship and improve emergency response coordination.

Over the coming months, OEM will develop a multi-year work plan in collaboration with colleagues in Toronto Fire to strengthen our Emergency Operations Centre capacity, refine plans and procedures related to special / extreme events and other specific risks as well as further developing the city’s business continuity and community resiliency initiatives.

The OEM is hopeful that continued work on the Partners in Preparedness initiative will contribute positively to improving the overall resiliency of the city.

Emergency Management – eLearning

The Office of Emergency Management maintains 24/7 operational readiness in case of an emergency event. The City of Toronto now offers an introductory eLearning course “OEM Emergency Management 100” for anyone interested in learning more about emergency management in Toronto. Please send an email to for a copy of the eLearning course.

Toronto’s 11th Annual Emergency Management Symposium

The 2018 Toronto Emergency Management Symposium took place at the Toronto Police College on 70 Birmingham St., Toronto on November 14 and 15.

Over 400 working professionals came together in order to educate themselves and interact with other working professionals in the field of emergency management. This symposium offered a unique networking opportunity for individuals from private and public organizations to share their experience and knowledge within the field of emergency management.

Highlights of this years event included presentations on:

  • Vegas October 1 Mass Casualty Event
  • Crowd Safety and Special Events Planning
  • UK Mass Casualty Bureau and Victim Supports

Attendance this year was our largest to date and many of you were in attendance thanks to the “partners in preparedness” private sector engagement initiative.

Neighbourhood Resilience

The concept of neighbourhood resilience is emerging as a way to help reduce the direct and indirect impacts of emergencies. In addition to acknowledging the natural and human caused hazards that exist, to truly understand what a community needs to become more resilient, there needs to be a holistic picture of what makes up a given neighbourhood from a social, economic and infrastructure perspective. If some of the root causes of vulnerability in a neighbourhood can be identified and pro-actively addressed, overall community resiliency can be improved to lessen the effects when an emergency occurs.

Currently, there is not a lot of guidance or tools to assist with identifying, planning and executing measures to improve resilience. To date, the OEM has pushed the preparedness message that everyone should have an emergency kit and be prepared to take care of themselves for 72 hours following an emergency. While there is no intention to cease that message, it has become evident that a more community based, ‘neighbour helping neighbour’ approach is needed to make people generally more resilient.

With the insight and assistance of multiple stakeholders (both internal and external), OEM is hoping to explore a number of initiatives to address the idea of neighbourhood resilience and what might be done to implement change, such as examining hazards affecting the built and natural environment to better understand the vulnerabilities of specific neighbourhoods and propose improvements, and working with private sector partners to examine a potential role for their participation in enhancing neighbourhood resilience in their own communities.

Communications Update

Did you know that the City of Toronto Strategic Communications Division and the Office of Emergency Management co-chair an Emergency Risk Communicators Network (ERCoN)? This network brings together individuals from various City divisions and external agencies to share public education campaign materials and best practices with their peers in the field. It also helps to familiarize participants with other emergency communicators so that when an incident happens, contacts are already established.

In conjunction with the OEM’s Family and Friends Assistance Centre planning, a sub-group of communications professionals was proposed to look at how risk communications are coordinated in events that also greatly impact the hospital system. This follows the lessons learned from the Yonge-Finch van attack incident, where it was determined that coordination of communication messages with the hospitals would have provided residents with a more unified message.

ERCoN is always open to new members who also work in crisis communications. If you would like a communications professional from your organization to be included, please send an email to

Winter Preparedness

While the danger from winter weather varies across Ontario, most people are likely to face some type of severe winter weather at some point in their lives. That could mean snow or subfreezing temperatures, as well as strong winds, ice or heavy rain storms. According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, winter storms and excessive cold claim over 100 lives each year in this country – which is more than the combined number of deaths caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, extreme heat and lightning each year.

As we head into the winter season, this is a good time for businesses and organizations to consider their readiness for cold weather-related hazards. You can get started by reviewing our Guide to Business Continuity Planning for more information on how to put together a plan.

Once you have a plan in place, consider running an exercise to test your plan. By simulating a cold weather event, you can figure out if your plan is up-to-date and ready to be used. For example, exercise your plan to figure out if it includes procedures for telling employees how they can find out if the business is open, how their schedule may be changed, and what they should do if they are unable to make it to work due to the weather.

And finally, take this opportunity to teach your employees about the risk posed by winter weather. You can educate staff on:

  • the potential impacts of winter storms
  • the terms that Environment and Climate Change Canada uses to describe changing weather conditions
  • the importance of having supplies ready to stay at home for up to three days without power, water or heat
  • your organization’s business continuity plan

For more information on the risks posed by winter weather, visit