By Alain Normand

When IAEM Canada sent out the notice that nominations where open for the executive of the IAEM Ontario region, I was very surprised as I had no idea there was an intent on creating such a region. After a few calls and discussions with some people at IAEM, I found out that seven IAEM members residing in Ontario had signed a request to IAEM Canada to create an Ontario region and that based on the IAEM bylaws, the executive of IAEM Canada had to follow through on the request.

Since there had been no discussion on the topic, I decided to organize a town hall meeting and invite Ontario members of IAEM and OAEM to talk about it. The event was held in Brampton on January 22 in the morning. About 25 people attended in person and another dozen or so were on the conference call. As one person said, having such a response with only a seven day notice is a clear demonstration of the commitment of the professionals to the future of emergency management in Ontario and Canada.

After receiving clarification on the process by Greg Solecki, president of IAEM Canada, we were informed that the list of people whose nominations had been put forward for the executive of a new IAEM Ontario would be sent out on Monday January 28 and IAEM members would have three weeks to submit their vote.

The discussion started on the pros and cons of having an IAEM Ontario and the perceived competition with OAEM. After many comments on this and much talk about aiming for collaboration, the general feeling of the group was that having two association in the province was not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, repeatedly it was discussed that having an Ontario voice at the national level could bring some positive outcomes for the profession.

The OAEM position as stated by the president Mike O’Brien, was open to having an IAEM Ontario region as long as there was no duplication of efforts. OAEM caters to the emergency management community in Ontario and has done much to advance the professional development, student engagement, and mentorship aspect of the community. IAEM in turn is seen as the certification channel and the advocacy agency to promote the profession within governments and external agencies. If the new Ontario region sticks to this mandate, there should be no real competition. We did point out that for newcomers to the field and for students, having to choose between OAEM and IAEM Ontario may be difficult, especially for new graduates who will have limited funds to become members of both associations.

What transpired eventually from the discussion was that this was a done deal. We had no authority or means to stop the creation of this region. In fact, we didn’t even need seven signatures, only one signature would have been sufficient to initiate the process. The discussion turned to the process itself.

It was clear that OAEM had nothing to do in the next phase.  The discussion turned solely to IAEM and there was general dissatisfaction with the way the creation of the region happened. While Greg Solecki and the executive of the IAEM Canada followed the bylaws and the rules to the letter, never was there any consultation on the desire of the emergency management profession in Ontario. Following the rules is one thing; catering to the will of the members is another. This is about doing the right thing rather than doing things right.

There was anger and resentment expressed towards the seven people who submitted the request that they took it upon themselves to speak on behalf of the other 143 or so members of IAEM residing in Ontario. These people who have yet to come forward, are creating a group based on unknowns, with no clear indication of reasons, no justification for the need of such an association, and no information on the roles and responsibilities they intend to play. Will this body collaborate with existing agencies? Will it actually carry at the national level the will of the Ontario members? There was a lot of doubt of this. If these people didn’t even take the time to ask member’s opinion prior to creating the region, what guarantees will we have that they will speak on our behalf once they are elected?

In all, whatever this Ontario region will be is off to a very bad start. Most of the people in the room and a few on the call held some ill feelings towards this whole process. I can also attest to discussions I had with other members prior to the meeting over phone calls and e-mails in the days preceding, and the same feeling was expressed numerous times by people who were unable to attend the meeting.

As I said, this is a done deal, we can’t do anything about it. The process to get there stinks, the people who put this forward didn’t even have the courage to step up and give us their reasoning, and we still have no idea what these people are aiming to accomplish.

I do not intend to put my name forward for this executive. I’ve done my stint on boards and I’m leaving this to others. 

However, be assured of one thing. I will be watching. If this IAEM Ontario intends to speak on my behalf, they better say what I want them to say. I will attend every IAEM Ontario AGM, I will read every minute of every IAEM Ontario and IAEM Canada meeting, and I will search for every sentence where our will as Ontario EM professionals is presented. I will be on the new president’s back –and the rest of the executive- should they diverge from the wishes of my fellow members. If you submitted your nomination already, you better be ready for this. 

I also encourage all IAEM Canada members in Ontario to be on the watch. I demand transparency and openness, I aim for accountability, and so should all of you. This whole process started behind our backs, without consultation, without our input and with none of those concerned ever showing their card. If IAEM Ontario is sincere in its intention of being the voice of Ontario EM professionals, this better change quickly. 

The bylaws also contain an article 9 which is about dispute. I will reread this closely and I may use it in the future should I not be satisfied in the integrity of the people at the helm.

I want to close by reiterating that I am a member of both OAEM and IAEM Canada but I write this as an emergency management professional in my own words and with my own opinions. Those in no way reflect the opinions of either OAEM or IAEM Canada.

Going forward, let’s change the course, and do the right thing.

Alain Normand

NGO Alliance of Ontario Guiding Principles
· Maintain a reliable, credible and respected Alliance for members, municipalities, the Province and other stakeholders to access and share
· Provide NGO Executive members the opportunity to participate in the emergency response network committees and initiatives within Ontario
where possible
· Redirect calls to NGO Council members and other stakeholders for support and to provide assistance in times of disaster and emergencies
within Ontario
· Develop working relationships with other NGO members, municipalities, the Province and additional stakeholders
· Broadly communicate NGO member capacity by maintaining a current NGO Alliance of Ontario Handbook, Continuum Infographic and website

Dear Colleagues, fellow Emergency Management Professionals,

You may have seen the communications from the IAEM Canada board asking for nominations to the executive position of the IAEM Ontario Region. If you are like me and interested in the future of the emergency management profession, you probably had questions about this Ontario Region. I did, so I asked and found out thatseven Ontario emergency management professionals with good standing as membersof IAEM Canada had sent a request for the creation of this IAEM Ontario Region.

The IAEM Bylaw allows this as long as there is no existing region in the same province and as long as there are a minimum of six signatures on the request. The IAEM Canada board is now obligated to follow through on the request.

My concern is on how this will impact the profession in Ontario. I would like to have a discussion on this with as many of you as possible. I especially would like to hear the reasoning of the seven people who submitted the request. I do not know who they are and the IAEM Board respects the privacy of its members.

I am neither on the board of IAEM Canada nor OAEM although I have been active on both. While I hold a membership in both, I have no personal interest in either association, but I care for the profession. This is why I would like to invite you for a town hall meeting on the topic on January 22nd 2019, from 9am to noon, at the Century Gardens Community Centre, 340 Vodden Street East in Brampton. I know this is short term but the election for these positions has tobe done within three weeks of the request, so we have little time to discuss this. Brampton will be providing coffee and tea, with muffins and light snacks.

Please note that I will not tolerate the negative criticism of either IAEM or OAEM or any other organization for that matter including disparaging comments regarding board members, staff or executives.

To get an idea of how many people will attend, please send me a quick rsvp e-mail at

Town Hall meeting on the future of the emergency management profession in Ontario
January22, 2019, 09h00,
Century Gardens Community Centre,
340 Vodden Street East,Brampton


Alain Normand, Emergency Management Professional

By Thomas Appleyard

Program evaluation informs practitioners, funders and researchers on the efficacy of interventions. Standard program evaluation methods emphasise desired outcomes and pre-identified criteria for success. Program evaluators stress establishing SMART goals: specific, measureable, agreed upon, realistic and time-bound. 

These standard program evaluation methods do not apply well for emergency responders who must thrive in a volatile, unpredictable, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment. 

What would SMART goals have looked like on 9/11? Was undertaking an unplanned maritime evacuation of 500,000 people off Manhattan Island within nine hours a realistic goal? Was establishing Union Square as the site for New Yorkers to grieve and to share information and food part of an agreed-upon goal? (No – the City shut this operation down after several days).

A problem with SMART goals for emergency managers is they limit possibilities. Here is the goal-setting language effective emergency responders used on 9/11:

  • “Please do what you can for these people. Come out, lend a hand, anything you can do will be accepted.” – Gander Newfoundland Mayor Claude Elliott
  • “We don’t know what we’re gonna see, we don’t know what we’re gonna do, but we’re gonna go.” – tugboatman Ken Peterson
  • “You ready? Okay. Let’s roll.”– United 93 passenger Todd Beamer

Instead of squeezing emergency response efforts into standard program evaluation methods, here are two approaches to program evaluation emergency responders can take:

  • Know what you are good at and evaluate that. 
  • Know the competencies required to thrive in a VUCA world (e.g., initiative, improvisation, empathy, creativity) and evaluate them.

By Julie Chambers (Education Director)                                                                                                                 

Calling all Seasoned EM/BC Professionals, Students and Early Career Professionals! Registration for the OAEM Mentorship Program has re-opened.

The OAEM mentorship program is kicking off once again. The program is for certificate/college/university students based in Ontario studying in an emergency management educational program, or early career professionals based in Ontario who have graduated within the last 2 years. The program aims to connect EM/BC students and early career professionals to seasoned professionals in the field in order to promote networking and knowledge transfer, and assist in building connections.

The OAEM Education Director will provide help to both Mentors and Mentees in establishing the partnership. Monthly contact between Mentors and Mentees is expected via phone, e-mail, Skype, FaceTime, and face-to-face meetings.

If you are currently working in emergency management or business continuity in the public, private or not-for-profit sectors and would like to guide and develop the next generation of emergency management practitioner or if you are an Ontario-based EM/BC student interested in building connections and learning about the field, please complete a survey found on the following link (under the “Sign-up” section):

Review from Serenna Besserer (OAEM Mentor 2016 – 2018):

“I really enjoying being able to mentor students studying Disaster and Emergency Management. I wish this opportunity was presented to me when I first started my career and it is nice to give back by helping the new students.”

Review from Saricka DaCosta (OAEM Mentee 2016 – 2017):

“Great opportunity to learn from experience individuals in the field, if you are every considering going into the EM.”

If you have any questions, please contact

Calling all OAEM student members,

Are you an ambitious, driven and creative individual? Do you have new ideas on how OAEM can better serve Ontario’s students and the EM community? Would you like to take on a lead role in connecting Disaster and Emergency Management (DEM) students to professionals and opportunities within the DEM field? Are you looking to get involved? OAEM wants you!

OAEM is looking for a Student Board Member who will serve from November 2018 to August 2019. If the above appeals to you, then we would like to hear from you!

– You do need to be an Ontario-based student enrolled in a Disaster and Emergency Management Program
– You need to be a Student Member of OAEM

Please send a 250-400 word Statement of Interest and a copy of your Resume to no later than Friday, November 9, 2018.

We look forward to your applications.

**You need to be an OAEM Student Member to apply. If you are not, please sign up here**

Good luck!

Nicole Pinto
Education Director
OAEM Board of Directors

 By Jim Montgomery

 The City of Ottawa, Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is responsible for the development, implementation and coordination of the City’s Emergency Management Program (EMP). 

The Ottawa Emergency Management Program exceeds the legislated requirements of the Ontario Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), and adheres to the internationally developed and voluntary compliance requirements of the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP). 

The City of Ottawa, as the Nation’s Capital City, recognized in 2016 that it would be host to national celebrations for Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation. In preparation for a multitude of significant special events, training was undertaken to ensure collaboration among all partners and stakeholders in planning for the events. The training was developed and designed to ensure capability and capacity for the events in relation to the identified threats, hazards and risks. 

To validate the training, a full-scale exercise (FSX) was developed to validate the capability and capacity of the partners and stakeholders. The concept for the FSX was that there would be numerous operational periods and at least one staffing change. 

Identification and engagement of the partners and stakeholders who would fulfill functional roles and responsibilities during the FSX continued, and eventually led to over 31 agencies expressing interest in participating. Of particular note is that there was international, national, provincial and local interest from private and public agencies. 

In collaboration with the Government of Canada, through the Canadian Safety and Security Program, with the assistance of Public Safety Canada’s National Exercise Program, a proposal for financial funding was submitted. The financial funding was approved with in-kind funding from all of the partners and stakeholders. 

The Canadian Army Simulation Centre was contracted to develop, facilitate and evaluate the FSX. Partners and stakeholders provided subject matter expertise, with representatives on the Exercise Design Team (EDT). The EDT was responsible to identify the overall objectives of the FSX, and how their agencies functional responsibilities would support the achievement of those objectives. The focus of the FSX was to validate collaboration among emergency response and management entities in the National Capital, measured by the degree of coordination, cooperation and communication (C3) demonstrated. 

Exercise Ottawa C3 took place on Thursday May 4th, and ran for 20+ hours with multiple sites and levels of decision centres (federal, provincial, municipal and private). The initial hazard was that initiated the FSX was an earthquake with cascading impacts and consequences that continued to manifest throughout the exercise. The exercise utilized emergency management subject matter experts from seven Canadian municipalities (Halifax, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver) to evaluate the various decision centres’ processes and operations; a first in Canada. 

The C3 Exercise was a tremendous success; an After-Action Report was completed, with the observations leading to implementation of corrective actions. 

The Office of Emergency Management is making available to members of OAEM the exercise related documentation, please contact Jim.Montgomery@Ottawa.CA 

Coming out of the 2018 OAEM election at our Annual General Meeting in May, our board is organized and ready for another season of delivering the training, access, representation and networking that our membership has come to expect.


Our strategy going forward from the AGM is to have a board executive that can enable the remaining directors to focus on collaboratively delivering on specific focus areas for our membership.

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By Geoff Coulson

Hosted by Conservation Ontario, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and the Provincial Flood Forecasting and Warning Committee the 2018 Ontario Flood Risk Management Workshop is targeted to professionals and academia working in flood risk management. It provides an opportunity for you to collaborate, educate and share experiences. This year’s Workshop will take place from 19 to 20 September 2018 at the Pearson Convention Centre in Brampton Ontario.

The workshop offers two concurrent streams featuring a diverse lineup of speakers and expertise. The first stream will focus on Flood Risk Prevention and Mitigation showcasing a wide variety of municipal and agency projects and works in Ontario. The second stream, titled Preparedness, Response and Recovery, will feature specific work and experiences from emergency management professionals.
The Workshop provides content derived from the insurance sector, provincial and municipal agencies and also explores public sector perspectives.

Register Here/Agenda: