TORONTO: The Ontario government has announced that municipalities will not be required to conduct their annual mock emergency exercise this year.
Recognizing that municipalities and provincial ministries continue to actively engage their emergency management procedures and programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Solicitor General has suspended the requirement for exercises in 2020.
This temporary suspension will allow municipalities to focus on reopening their communities and local economies while keeping Ontarians safe.
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said: “Clearly, 2020 has been a true test of our emergency plans, which is why we can safely waive the requirement for practice exercises this year. I applaud our municipal partners as they have demonstrated extraordinary collaboration, determination, and resilience throughout the pandemic to protect public health and reopen our communities.”
“Our government has been working closely with our municipal partners to help ensure they have the flexibility, tools, and resources they need to keep our communities safe and functioning during this challenging time,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
“Waiving the requirement for municipalities to conduct a mock emergency exercise this year allows them to focus on what matters most right now – continuing to protect the health and well-being of all Ontarians.”
“The government’s flexibility and understanding of the operating challenges faced by municipal governments during this time are welcome,” said the President of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Graydon Smith. Under O. Reg 380/04 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, (EMCPA), municipalities and provincial ministries are required to conduct exercises every year to test and practice their emergency plans.