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Emergency Planning and Preparedness

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Emergencies can happen anywhere and at anytime. They can be caused by severe weather, infectious diseases, industrial accidents or spills, or by intentional acts. The very nature of an emergency is unpredictable and can change in scope and impact.

When an emergency happens it can threaten public safety, the environment, property, the economy; critical infrastructure such as transportation and telecommunications; and the health of the public. An emergency can also affect a person’s ability to access health care services and the health care system’s ability to respond to the situation.

Being prepared and planning ahead is critical to protecting public safety. Planning and preparedness is also important for safeguarding the public health care system in Ontario.

In December of 2003, following Ontario’s experience with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, the Emergency Management Branch (EMB) was created to plan, organize, manage and coordinate provincial responses to emergencies that affect and impact health. Since its creation, the EMB has undertaken a number of emergency management initiatives and programming.

The following pages provide important information on planning for emergencies, and highlights programs, plans, resources and supports that are available to assist health care workers and the health care system. This section also includes important information on what you as an individual can do to help keep you and your family prepared and safe.

About the Emergency Management Branch

The Emergency Management Branch (EMB) was created in December 2003 to support emergency management activities within the Ministry and the healthcare system.

EMB's Vision

Ontarians are supported by public health and health care systems that are ready, willing and able to respond to incidents and emergencies.

EMB's Mission

We build and promote sustainable emergency management capacity within the public health and health care systems through meaningful engagement, guidance, direction and collaboration.


  1. Anticipate threats to human health and the public health and health care systems by monitoring, identifying and analyzing risks
  2. Develop and maintain health emergency management plans and programs
  3. Strengthen capacity and readiness, willingness and ability to respond through information sharing, training and exercises
  4. Respond to incidents and emergencies by coordinating the public health and health care systems
For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at 1-866-532-3161
In Toronto, 416-314-5518
TTY 1-800-387-5559
In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282
Hours of operation : 8:30am - 5:00pm