Emergency Management Program at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Emergency management in the Ontario Public Service is based on a risk management approach and includes activities in five components: mitigation, prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) emergency and response plans follow this model.
Under the direction of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, R.S.O, 1990, c.E.9, OMAFRA has developed an emergency management program that addresses both agricultural emergencies and continuity of operations. OMAFRA's Food and Agriculture Emergency Response Plan (FAERP) and Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) have been combined into a single Emergency Management Program (EMP) Plan.
Under Order in Council (OIC) 1157/2009, OMAFRA has been assigned responsibility for emergencies related to: farm animal disease, food contamination and agricultural plant disease and pest infestation.
OMAFRA maintains a number of supplement plans under the ministry Emergency Management Program. These plans outline OMAFRA's role in various incidents, including: Human Health Pandemic, Nuclear Incident, Border Closure, Foreign Animal Disease and Food Contamination.
A Ministry Emergency Management Program Committee (MEMPC) oversees the development of OMAFRA's emergency management program, in accordance with Ontario's Emergency Management Program standards. The work of the MEMPC is supported across the ministries by different divisions. Various working groups address specific topics as needed.
OMAFRA have a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week notification protocol to ensure prompt notification and response to any agricultural emergency or business continuity incident. The response to all emergency incidents is directed by the Ministry Incident Management Team (MIMT) that coordinates activities and makes decisions regarding emergency responses and ensures proper internal and external communications with government, stakeholders, and the public.
The Ministry Emergency Operations Centre (MEOC) provides an integrated environment of information management and communication tools required to respond to emergencies in a time when speed and efficiency are critical.
The ministries have a dedicated Corporate Planning and Projects Unit (CPPU) that operates as a team and engages in emergency planning and response activities. The CPPU works with experts from within each ministry and a variety of stakeholder groups to prepare for agricultural emergencies involving farm animal disease, food contamination and agricultural plant disease and pest infestation. As well, they also engage other divisions and branches throughout the ministries to ensure that response plans are in place to facilitate the delivery of time-critical services in the event of a business continuity interruption.
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