About the Government Operations Centre

Emergency management in Canada

The way authorities respond to emergencies and when the federal government gets involved is different in this country than elsewhere.

In Canada, emergencies are managed first at the local level: hospitals, fire departments, police and municipalities. If they need assistance, they request it from their province or territory. If the emergency escalates and they need help, provinces or territories can get help from the federal government.

Emergencies and events often involve natural disasters,health threats, national security, federal assets and human-induced events. 

Emergency management is a shared responsibility across all sectors of society. The Federal Emergency Response Plan (FERP) is the Government of Canada's "all-hazards" response plan. It outlines the processes and mechanisms to facilitate an integrated Government of Canada response to an emergency. 

The Emergency Management Act is the legislative foundation and the Federal Policy on Emergency Management (FPEM) provides the framework for a coordinated approach to federal emergency management. The Emergency Management Framework for Canada and the Emergency Management Strategy for Canada guide and strengthen the way governments and partners assess risks and work together to prevent/mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk to Canadians.

Government Operations Centre

Canada's approach to emergency management rests on four pillars: prevention and mitigation; preparedness; response; and recovery. The Government Operations Centre (GOC) contributes primarily to the preparedness and response components.

The GOC provides stable, round-the-clock coordination and support to key national players in the event of national emergencies.

Its mandate is: On behalf of the Government of Canada, the Government Operations Centre supports preparedness for and leads the coordination of the integrated federal response to all-hazard events of national interest.

The GOC identifies high risk events that require important coordination across multiple departments and agencies. Working with these partners, the GOC facilitates the development of integrated Government of Canada contingency plans.

The GOC coordinates federal departments and agencies, provinces and territories when the scope of an event requires a coordinated response.

Its role is to convene, collaborate, coordinate and communicate.

Public Safety regional offices

The GOC maintains communication with the provinces and territories through Public Safety regional offices. During an emergency, the regional office becomes an extension of the GOC and helps coordinate the federal response at the regional level, and back up to the national strategic decision-making level.

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