Response and monitoring

Daily operations

The Government Operations Centre's everyday activity includes:

See descriptions of past events

What the GOC monitors

The GOC monitors information from Canadian and international partners and open sources for potential emergencies and events of national interest, in the following categories:

Such as human or animal health; tornados; floods; hurricanes; wildfires; tsunamis; volcanos; earthquakes; avalanches; drought; landslides. See Natural Hazards of Canada.
Human induced
Such as:
Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosives (CBRNE); civil disturbance (protest or demonstration); cyber threat/incident
Ecological disaster, pollution or industrial incident; critical infrastructure interruption (power outage); hazardous material (radiological or nuclear); space launch; aviation, maritime or rail incident
National security
Such as the death of a federal representative while on duty; terrorism; missile launch/test; suspicious package
Such as impact to federal buildings and services
Major events
Such as the G7 Summit; Pan Am, Para-Pan AM or Olympic Games

Watch reporting

The Watch is the GOC's 24/7 centre that monitors and reports on current and/or emerging issues in Canada or internationally that could impact our national interest. Watch officers are responsible for providing analysis to senior officials, federal, provincial and territorial entities, and non-government organizations.

Watch reports can include

Daily operations brief

These briefs come from unclassified information from departments and agencies for the official use of domestic and foreign emergency management organizations, critical infrastructure stakeholders and the emergency management community. The information contained in the daily operations briefs meet GOC reporting criteria.

Typically, operations briefs include:

  • A national overview of significant Canadian weather expected over 24 hours and two to five days out
  • Tropical activity that might impact the North Atlantic or the Eastern Pacific
  • Space weather such as major solar storm activity and its potential impact on critical infrastructure
  • Brief descriptions and updates related to new, ongoing and upcoming incidents and special events and those related to wildfires and flooding

The GOC is authorized to use satellite imagery and coordinates all RADARSAT requests for surveillance support from federal, provincial, and territorial partners that deal with emergency management issues. Aerial photos and satellite imagery are coordinated by the GOC to emergency management partners in their response and planning activities. This includes RADARSAT Constellation Mission imagery from the Canadian Space Agency, National Aerial Surveillance Program photos from Transport Canada and the activation of the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters.

Along with responding during emergencies, Geomatics also supports partners with geomatics products such as web maps, static maps, and thematic infographics for preparedness /planning activities, and provides geomatics information on emerging events. Geomatics maintains online web maps, which are a repository of authoritative data curated from partners to provide a one-stop shop for emergency management-related Geographic information system (GIS) records.

Notifications and flash alerts
The GOC notifications and flash alerts are reporting tools to send information about emerging incidents. Flash alerts go to senior decision-makers, primarily deputy ministers, to provide rapid information on events that have not yet met the threshold for reporting. Notifications are issued to federal, provincial and territorial emergency management partners and offices when an ongoing or emerging event of national interest meets GOC reporting criteria.

Reporting criteria and activation

Under certain circumstances and depending on the scope, the GOC will activate and may set up a formal event response team based on the following reporting criteria

Based on the size and nature of the event, the GOC could change its response level. Response levels depend on complexity and factors, such as the need for federal coordination, resources, and support. Activation levels are based on international standards and include

Level 1 – Enhanced reporting
The main focus is on awareness, and involves increased monitoring and reporting. When activated at this level, there is extra communication and information flow between Public Safety's regional offices, the GOC and their respective partners.
Level 2 – Risk assessment and planning
This level involves assessing risks, analyzing threats and their potential impacts, resource implications, and response gaps. This is when the need for possible help from the federal government is identified. Based on this assessment, an integrated response plan can be developed and partners prepare to send their experts and liaison officers to the GOC.
Level 3 – Coordination of federal response
At level 3, federal-national and regional-federal coordination is in effect and the GOC works with Public Safety's regional offices to address current and identify potential requests for federal assistance. It's at this level that the GOC may send liaison officers to the regional office and/or to other federal government institutions.
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