2019 Award Recipients
Nomination Summaries
Emergency Management Exemplary Service Award

All information below is adapted from nomination material submitted for the Emergency Management Exemplary Service Award.


Kaylee Tower
Kaylee is the youngest Regional Manager at Emergency Management British Columbia (EMBC) whose dedication, drive and skill have made her excel in the Emergency Management field. Kaylee played a leadership role during the 2017 and 2018 unprecedented wildfire seasons, supporting local authorities and Indigenous communities. She led a team that reimbursed over $10 million in response costs after the 2017 wildfires. Kaylee has also played an instrumental role to support and enhance Indigenous capacity in responding to emergency events. Kaylee’s ability to connect and earn the respect of more experienced emergency management practitioners at all levels is a clear reflection of her extensive knowledge and approach to her work. Her efforts are even more impressive when considering that she is concurrently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration.

Resilient Communities

Lac La Biche County Emergency Management Team
In recent years, Alberta has experienced a number of very significant disasters but the communities have proven resilient thanks to the good work of groups like the Lac la Biche County. As an example, during the Fort McMurray wildfires in 2016, Lac La Biche County housed approximately 16,000 evacuees within its borders, providing them with food, accommodations and ensuring their medical needs were met. Knowing that large scale disasters would likely worsen in the years to come, the County affiliated with the Alberta Northeast All Hazards Incident Management Team to deal with a variety of incident types. This jurisdiction has built a reputation as a well-prepared, well-trained municipality, ready to respond and assist. Over the past five years the County has taken major steps to improve their EM program in the areas of partnerships, staffing, training, and team-building.

Town of Pincourt
In 1974, the Town of Pincourt experienced 100-year floods. An analysis was done as well as the mapping of more than 30 residences at risk of flooding. In 2014, during the review of its emergency response plan, the Town started to continuously monitor water levels and also installed a municipal water level gauge. On April 17, 2017, an alarming gradual rise in the river level was noted by Pincourt’s Organisation municipale de sécurité civile [municipal public safety organization] and a special flood response plan was implemented. The Town of Pincourt learned from the historic flooding and became proactive on all fronts to preserve its community’s assets and protect its citizens. Thanks to the Town’s preventive measures, its ability to respond quickly and its management of the rapidly rising waters of the Ottawa River, it was able to contain a flood 20-30 cm higher than the last 100-year flood of 1974. In addition, despite the distressing situation the Town of Pincourt faced, it provided equipment and workers to neighbouring municipalities.

Calgary Integrated Non-Profit Business Continuity Project
(Kim Savard, Shelagh Dunlop, Brett Whittingham, Ellen Campbell, Randy Coutts, Monica Piros, Nathan Hunt, Leslie Evans, Robyn Romano)

The Carya Society of Calgary, an organization dedicated to creating more connected communities in Calgary, developed and carried out a unique project designed to provide coordinated business continuity planning support and resources for non-profit organizations. With the collaboration of agencies in the area, the Calgary Integrated Non-Profit Business Continuity Project supported the development of a sustainable framework for business continuity planning for the non-profit sector that provides an integrated, collaborative, and inter-sectoral approach for these organizations to develop strategies that ensure continued service delivery during and after a large scale emergency or disaster. As a continuation of this work, and based on learning and experiences from the Project, the Non-Profit Business Continuity Management Plan Toolkit has recently been launched as a guide to support non-profit organizations to develop their own business continuity management programs.

Daniel Stovel
Mr. Stovel, a retired Naval Officer of 32 years, is dedicated to actively moving emergency preparedness issues forward within Kings County in Nova Scotia. In his position as the Regional Emergency Management Coordinator , Mr. Stovel has spearheaded many initiatives which have supported the development of a resilient Kings County. Some examples of his innovative work include his development of a “Guide to Emergency Management for Elected Officials” to guide Elected Officials through individual preparedness steps for when their constituents reach out to them during an emergency or disaster. Mr. Stovel also contributed to the development of the Kings County Vulnerable Persons Registry, a model capable of improving safety for those most vulnerable in the community and eventually throughout Nova Scotia. Mr. Stovel has also been a key contributor to the Heat Advisory and Response System plan, a plan designed to facilitate preparedness for, and response to future excessive heat events, a first of its kind in Nova Scotia.

West Carleton Disaster Relief
(Greg Patacairk, Alexandra Lesnick, Angela Bernhardt, Tracy Taffinder, Len Russell, Katherine Woodward, Laurie Chauvin, Judy Makin, Allan Joyner, Mary Braun, Alexandre M. J. Charron, Heather Lucente, Ruth Sirman)

On September 21, 2018, a tornado left a 20 km trail of destruction, completely destroying homes, farms and small businesses throughout West Carleton. Following this disaster, and building on the lessons learned from the volunteer lead response to the 2017 Ottawa River Flooding, a group of volunteers banded together to form West Carleton Disaster Relief (WCDR), a community lead disaster preparedness, response and recovery group. On April 25, 2019 the City of Ottawa declared a state of emergency as that Ottawa River water levels rose and again tested the resiliency of our communities, with the third disaster in two short years. West Carleton Disaster Relief was instrumental during these unfortunate disasters, they became supporters, caregivers, builders, fundraisers, planners, spokespeople, and most of all, leaders in the face of devastation. The group of volunteers were dedicated in their response to these emergency situations and ensuring the communities had the support they need. As WCDR builds on their disaster preparedness programs, they are supporting the communities and the residents who continue to struggle with their repairs from the 2018 tornado and the 2019 floods. While Covid and extreme increases to the price of building material has delayed the repairs and rebuilds for vulnerable residents. WCDR continue with their committed to ensuring these families finally have safe stable housing.

Brampton Emergency Management Office
(Amanda Maula, Alain Normand, Rick Bernard, Roland Daley, Anne Hodgkinson, Razmin Said, Michelle Sullivan, Kathryn Trojan Stelmaszynski)

The City of Brampton is an organization that works collaboratively to ensure that residents of this municipality live, work, and play in a safe and resilient environment. Most notably, the Brampton Emergency Management Office (BEMO) has undertaken several program and initiatives in the effort towards building and enhancing resiliency in Brampton. In particular the Community Safety program and capacity building through the Lighthouse Program are two important areas in achieving this. The Community Safety program takes a partnership-based approach to building relationships with service agencies to ensure that residents have the resources that are needed to overcome adverse conditions. The Lighthouse Program allows members of the community to seek refuge within the premises of participating faith-based organizations – “lighthouses” – during times of community-wide emergency, showing residents how we can work together to recover from emergency situations. This program has been introduced into other communities, demonstrating the City of Brampton as a true leader in community resilience.

Brandon Emergency Support Team
(Carrie Thorpe, Colin Welch, Dave Syndal, Warren Clark, Warren Hope, Tom Hutcheson, Carla Eisler, Annie Papadakis, Brian Kayes, Christopher Albrechtsen, Trevor Butler, Jon Bagley, Linda Carter, Jack Lindsay, Monique Carriere, Michael Leech, Nancy Syntak)

The Brandon Emergency Support Team (BEST) is a partnership created in 1999 between Business, Industry, and the City of Brandon, dedicated to increasing emergency preparedness in Brandon and surrounding area. The partners of BEST collaborate on the development of effective community education so that residents of the community know what to do in an emergency. BEST also provides a structure for collaboration between partners to ensure the public, media, official and the business community leaders are educated to a level where they can contribute to improved response and recovery outcomes. BEST represents what we should hope to see as the standard for a resilient community and has contributed to the success of the City of Brandon’s emergency management program and the high level of preparedness that can be seen from its individual citizens to the community as a whole.

Ville de Percé (Town of Percé)
In December 2016, historical storms were pounding the Gaspé shoreline and creating unprecedented damage to the Percé shores. It was a time of intense distress for the community when they witnessed riparian buildings under attack by such a storm. This episode confirmed the urgent need for a major and lasting intervention in order to protect the shoreline of Percé’s tourism and heritage downtown. With the support of the governments of Quebec and Canada, the Town of Percé therefore piloted a project to adapt to climate change entitled the Projet de protection et de réhabilitation du littoral de l’anse du Sud de Percé (project to protect and rehabilitate the shoreline of l’anse du Sud de Percé). A $21-million investment was made to consider findings (in hydrodynamic, biophysical, economic and technical terms) with the objective of identifying a lasting solution to the situation. More than a project to react to the impacts of climate change, the shoreline rehabilitation brought together citizens, organizations, businesspeople and governments to give Percé a new look that represents a new tourist attraction.

Michelle Vandevord
Ms. Vandevord works as the Associate Director for Saskatchewan First Nation Emergency Management and is an advocate for building the capacity and resilience of all of Saskatchewan’s First Nation communities. She’s been a volunteer firefighter in her home community of Muskoday First Nation for over twenty years and was instrumental in implementing the “Learn Not to Burn” program within Saskatchewan First Nation Schools. From her experiences and desire to help build resilience, she further works alongside her staff in providing free Firefighting and Emergency Management training programs and has built partnerships with many Saskatchewan fire departments as well as the Firefighters Without Borders organization to equip First Nation firefighters with the necessary equipment they require to respond to emergencies in their communities. Ms. Vandevord is an outstanding leader and became the first Aboriginal female firefighter to join the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada as a Board member. The following year she made history as the first female President of Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada. She also sits on boards and committees both Nationally and Provincially to include a First Nation perspective and voice to all levels of government and beyond. Michelle sat as a board member for FireSmart Canada and promoted the program in Saskatchewan to ensure all First Nation communities knew about the program to ensure a proactive approach to Wildfires. She is now helping to lead the creation of the National Indigenous Fire Safety Council. The Council will ensure that First Nation Firefighters have the programs and resources needed made “by us for us”. Her passion and dedication to enhance readiness and resilience in communities in Saskatchewan make her most deserving of this award.

Master of Disaster EMBC
(Devon McDonald, Hailey Nehring)

Master of Disaster is a classroom program for grades 4 to 8 that teaches youth about the hazards they face and how they can prepare. Originally launched in 2016, the program underwent a full content and design re-fresh in in 2018 and was re-released by PreparedBC this past fall (2019). The updated materials incorporate extensive feedback from teachers, students and Indigenous communities from across the province. Young learners are now encouraged to consider and appreciate not only the potential threat of natural hazards, but the historical experiences of First Nations, as imparted through shared stories of traditional knowledge. This exciting and fully inclusive program is endorsed by the BC Ministry of Education and aligns with curricular competencies set by the province. It also includes a household emergency plan that goes home to caregivers, giving young learners the opportunity to share their knowledge and prompt preparedness behaviours in their communities.

Preparing our Home Program
(Darlene Yellow Old Woman - Munro, Siksika Nation; Casey Gabriel, Lil’wat Nation; Mia Francis, The Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne; Sheena Sinclair, Stanley Mission)

The Preparing Our Home program is a community-based resilience planning program supporting Indigenous youth to reach their potential in becoming emergency preparedness leaders in their communities. The program helps youth understand risk from an inclusive people-centered, community-based approach that connects youth, Elders and community members and brings together Indigenous knowledge and global disaster risk reduction solutions. In 2017, the participants of Preparing our Home program won a global competition for their work to understand hazards and develop a school curriculum. The Preparing our Home program is changing the way that Indigenous youth face the challenges of disasters and crisis events, strengthening resilience within their communities.

Outstanding Contribution to Emergency Management

Greg MacCallum
Colonel (retired) Greg MacCallum has been the Director of the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (NBEMO) for the past nine years. Mr. MacCallum is an experienced emergency management and public safety professional who has coordinated the provincial planning, emergency response, and recovery operations for several large-scale emergency events, including ice storms, floods, train derailments, and Hurricane Arthur. Mr. MacCallum has planned and directed multiple exercises including six major nuclear emergency exercises with New Brunswick Power in the INTREPID series. Mr. MacCallum’s interpersonal and organizational skills are an invaluable asset to the emergency management community and have been critical to building regional emergency management capability within New Brunswick. Mr. MacCallum’s lifetime of experience, in both military and civilian service, is a testament to his dedication to emergency management.

Jason PR Cooling
Jason Cooling joined the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (NBEMO) in 2013 where he served as a Regional Emergency Management Coordinator until taking on the position of Area Manager for the Central New Brunswick Region in 2018. Prior to his civil service, Mr. Cooling served 10 years in the Canadian Armed Forces. Mr. Cooling is an integral part of the emergency management response in New Brunswick and has been instrumental in supporting many efforts to further emergency management in the province, including through starting the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Program for the NBEMO, increasing the reach of the team. Mr. Cooling has been critical in building capacity for emergency response in the province as evidenced by his work in operationalizing Incident Command Structure (ICS) within the province of New Brunswick. Mr. Cooling is a hard-working emergency management leader whose exemplary service contributes to a safer New Brunswick

Saint John Emergency Management Organization (SJEMO)
(Kevin Clifford, Daniel Leblanc, Michael D. Carr, Monica Monica Boudreault, Deputy Chief Joseph M Armstrong, Chris Roberts, Meaghan Bailey, Tom McGrath, Yves Léger , Monic P. MacVicar, CCLP, CPPB, David Dobbelsteyn, Tim O’Reilly, Jeanne Beltrandi Chown, Lisa Caissie, Rob Nichol, Jeff J. Hussey, BSc Eng, PEng, Joshua Hennessy, Peter W. Ehler, Greg Cutler, Jim Fleming)

The Saint John Emergency Management Organization (SJEMO) is a team of 20 dedicated emergency management volunteer/professionals who have taken emergency management in the City of Saint John to new levels of capacity, competency, and performance that results in a safer Saint John for its citizens and surrounding municipalities. SJEMO operates under the leadership of Chief Kevin Clifford, Director of SJEMO, and Deputy Chief Mike Carr, Manager of SJEMO, who have nurtured an extraordinary team that has achieved remarkable things over the last five years, including a transition to the Incident Command System (ICS) model of Emergency Management. Over the past five years the SJEMO Team has responded to several significant emergencies that included a local state of emergency, back-to-back record-breaking floods, citizen evacuation and isolation as a result of industrial incidents. In each instance, the SJEMO Team mobilized quickly to respond, by identifying the problems, priorities, objectives, strategies, and tactics. In each instance SJEMO initiated an appropriate reporting cycle and made evidence-based decisions to mitigate the impact of the incident on the residence and to ensure recovery was driven by a build back better tenet. SJEMO is committed to evidence-based decisions, using innovative approaches to emergency management (including through the creation of a “Mapping App” and the Emergency Planning, Preparedness, Response and Recovery, Simulation Theatre – ADMS), and open channels of communications with citizens to ensure vital public safety messaging is available to alert citizens in a timely manner of emerging risks and recovery services. SJEMO’s outstanding leadership, stewardship and the team members vast portfolio of unique skills in all facets of emergency management make them a model for other municipalities with respect to improving and ensuring community safety and resilience.

Tim Trytten
Tim Trytten is the head of the Alberta Emergency Alert (AEA) Program and his dedication and passion for the National Public Alerting System (NPAS) in Canada has made him a true leader in the public alerting sphere. Mr. Trytten is known for his forward-thinking and extensive technical knowledge of public alerting and is widely recognized as an expert in the field. Mr. Trytten chairs and participates in a variety of NPAS committees and working groups and his collaborative working relationships with NPAS stakeholders has helped further interoperability capacity across Canada. Mr. Trytten’s strong interpersonal relationship skills, determination, and depth of knowledge, coupled with a passion for public alerting, led to the successful signing of the Alerting Memorandum of Understanding for Cross-Boundary Alerting between Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. Mr. Trytten is an exceptional subject matter expert and his impeccable leadership abilities and extraordinary commitment to emergency management has helped advance National Public Alerting in Canada.

Special Operations Medical Extrication Team (SOMET)
(Colin O’Neill, Maggie MacQuarrie, Ryan Agar)

The Yukon Fire Marshals Office’s Special Operations Medical Extrication Team (SOMET) functions as a bridge between the Yukon Ground Search and Rescue and Yukon Emergency Medical Services by bringing medical treatment to patients in a technical backcountry setting and extricating the patient from the environment to advanced medical care. SOMET consists of three individuals, Colin O’Neill, Maggie MacQuarrie, and Ryan Agar, who have demonstrated clear direction, substantial integrity, and organizational collaboration. Since the inception of SOMET, this team of skilled and dedicated volunteers has successfully rescued at least 15 people in need and provided medical treatment to 11 of those individuals. Through SOMET’s advanced knowledge, rapid response, and physical strength, they are reducing the loss of life. SOMET has demonstrated frontline leadership in communications, collaboration, and coordination and have shown a sustained commitment to the safety and well-being of Canadians.

Mike Sparks
Mike Sparks is currently the Senior Operations Advisor with Yukon Government’s Wildland Fire Management. He has worked for almost 45 years in the emergency management field of wildland fire. Over the course of his career, Mr. Sparks has developed and implemented operational standards and policies for the Yukon Wildland Fire Management branch, and prior to 2003, for the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs in Yukon and Government of Alberta. He has extensive on-the-ground experience as an Incident Commander or Deputy of Operations responding to campaign fires within Yukon and across northwestern Canada and USA. As a respected leader in the field, Mr. Sparks prioritizes safe, efficient, and effective operations in order to minimize wildfire losses and costs. Mr. Sparks has played a significant role in building relationships with Yukon First Nations and bringing First Nations into the territory’s fire program. Mr. Sparks’ tactical perspective and strong leadership has enabled him to manage multiple agencies and to develop frontline fire management response plans while always keeping the needs of communities, residents and firefighters in the forefront of operations.

Warman Emergency Response Team
The Warman Emergency Response Team (WERT) is a highly-trained group of volunteers that provides the citizens of Warman and surrounding communities with the essential functions of life and safety protection in the event of an emergency incident or natural disaster. Through its work, WERT ensures the resources and manpower are available to respond in a moment’s notice to assist before a disaster happens, be there as the situation unfolds to mitigate impact, and help in recovery efforts when the emergency is over. Though based in Warman, this non-profit organization provides its services and expertise throughout the Province of Saskatchewan and was one of the responding teams to the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash in April 2018. This team of specialized volunteers has contributed to more effective emergency management within the community and has improved the Emergency Operations Centre within the City of Warman. WERT contributes to Saskatchewan’s resiliency through their readiness to always assist those in need.

Indigenous Affairs Ontario Emergency Management Team
(Heather Levecque, Mark Breen, Spencer Nuttall)

The Indigenous Affairs Ontario Emergency Management Team has been in operation for 10 years, supporting responses to natural disasters, critical infrastructure failure, and social emergencies in First Nations communities as they arise. Recognizing a critical gap in the capacity to provide harmonized and standardized assistance for social emergencies, the team envisioned a tripartite process (Federal, Provincial, and Indigenous) that embedded First Nations’ realities and could function as a clear response process to provide aid in crises. The team led multiple collaborative discussions over a number of years, with all partners, to frame Social Emergency Response protocols that all parties could rely upon as emergencies were declared in First Nations communities. The team ensured to incorporate unique territorial needs and address nuanced supports of diverse territories, demonstrating a clear understanding of the regional, cultural, linguistic, and service distinctions that exist throughout the province. No such processes existed before to assist governments and First Nations to navigate social emergencies response. The vision, leadership, collaboration, and innovation of the team enabled the design of a new process that has become an Ontario best practice not only in social emergency response, but in First Nations engagement and relationship building across Canada.

Calvin Maurice Gardner
Cal Gardner is a decorated Community Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Sarnia. In this role, Mr. Gardner has been involved in the response for a number of emergency situations, including train derailments, chemical plant fires, chemical releases, power outages, and more. As a function of residing in a border city, Mr. Gardner has developed strong relationships with Homeland Security and American emergency services to ensure coordinated responses on major incidents. Through leadership, guidance, and a passion for a better mass emergency notification, Mr. Gardner has helped Sarnia usher in a next-generation notification system that has been responsible for notifying the community of incoming tornadoes, missing children, boiling water advisories, and multiple shelter-in-place notices. Mr. Gardner also functions as a mentor for co-op students from local high schools and is instrumental in teaching emergency management and promoting educational awareness about emergency preparedness and response. His communication, leadership, integrity, and capacity to build strong, collaborative partnerships has helped create resilience in the City of Sarnia.

Craig Marek
As manager for Kenora Ambulance and Communications Centre, Craig Marek has emphasized the importance of putting emergency management to the forefront of priorities. Mr. Marek’s passion for emergency communications includes a consistent desire to enhance the liaison structure between provincial government, regional agencies, communities, and health care facilities. Mr. Marek has helped lead the development of a coordinated, cooperative relationship between emergency and health services, border agencies, and law enforcement at the Minnesota-Ontario border. Mr. Marek has also helped impart a standard for the sharing of resources and strategies for joint response to any emergency event in the cross-border area, including developing a cross-border communications interoperability solution that formed the basis for real-time radio communications between Ontario and Minnesota, one of the only international arrangements of its kind. Mr. Marek continues to work on areas of preparedness, with a focus on communications interoperability with the Province of Manitoba. Mr. Marek is an enthusiastic, consummate professional with a keen eye for detail whose efforts have helped create a safer, more resilient Ontario.

Manitoba Disaster Management Conference Committee (MDMC)
(Shelley Napier, Sara Wiebe, Paul White, Wade A. Carriere, Randy Hull, Don W. Brennan)

The Manitoba Disaster Management Conference Committee (MDMC) is a non-profit group of dedicated emergency management professionals and practitioners who have been responsible for delivering the multi-day Manitoba Disaster Management Conference (MDMC) approximately every 18 months beginning in 1992. As a well-organized emergency management professional development activity, the MDMC brings keynote presentations and workshops on current and emerging trends, best practices, and significant events in emergency management from across Canada, the U.S., and internationally to Manitoba’s emergency management community, first responders, First Nations, elected officials, and attendees from across Canada and the U.S. The MDMC shows outstanding emergency management leadership, vision, and initiative in promoting the development of emergency management in Manitoba as a profession by providing a venue for the continued learning of emergency managers and demonstrating organizational excellence. The Conference Committee ensures the MDMC program is regularly updated to meet the evolving professional development needs of participants and to ensure the conference agenda encompasses a variety, depth, and breadth of relevant and emergency management subjects. The MDMC’s outstanding collaboration and efforts have established enduring partnerships with the public and private sector, First Nations, and non-governmental stakeholders to ensure conferences touch on all facets of emergency management. The MDMC’s commitment to participant experience and innovative approach creates a multi-disciplinary and diverse network that advances emergency management in Manitoba and across Canada.

Bob Robichaud
Bob Robichaud has demonstrated dedication and sustained commitment to emergency management in Nova Scotia. Mr. Robichaud worked for several years as an aviation meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada before taking on a new function within the department as a Warning Preparedness Meteorologist. Mr. Robichaud has been heavily involved in training emergency managers on a number of weather topics in order to best prepare them for increasingly severe and increasingly frequent weather events. Mr. Robichaud developed a two-day comprehensive, standalone Weather Interpretation Course, which helps critical decision makers learn how to find, understand, and apply area-specific weather information when making decisions on staffing, evacuations, highway closures, hospital closures, comfort centres, and more. Although the first of its kind in Canada, it has now expanded to include all four Atlantic provinces, providing necessary resources so more Canadian communities can be better prepared for any disaster. Mr. Robichaud’s excellent collaboration and partnership skills allow him to foster positive working relationships across and within municipal, provincial, and federal levels of government, strengthening eastern Canada’s resilience.

Ken Macdonald
Ken Macdonald has had a long and distinguished career in the Public Service, spanning 46 years, and leverages his expertise as a practicing meteorologist to increase the preparedness and resiliency of Canadian communities. Mr. Macdonald has worked to improve the Meteorological Service of Canada’s (MSC) programs, including authoring the first MSC Service Strategy, which identified the provision of service to public authorities with responsibility for emergency management as an organizational priority. Mr. Macdonald was also one of the lead architects behind a 10-year funding initiative for the renewal of MSC. In this and other strategic initiatives, Mr. Macdonald’s ability to translate how investments in science would lead to new capabilities for MSC and his ability to articulate how these capabilities could be leveraged to improve services to Canadians and their emergency management institutions have been essential to MSC’s success. Mr. Macdonald has been one of the pioneering forward-thinkers in the establishment of a national public alerting system, bringing knowledge and expertise to the development and implementation of Canada’s national public alerting system, Alert Ready. Mr. Macdonald is a leader in the field of public alerting and his understanding of the challenges and evolving needs of the emergency management community makes him an indispensable asset to emergency management in Canada.

Gregory W. Solecki
Gregory W. Solecki, CEM, CBCP, has been integral to many significant emergency management advances within Canada, including policy and framework, preparedness, response and recovery, and leadership. Mr. Solecki has responded to over 100 major emergency responses in Canada, including 6 States of Emergency, and provided a pivotal role in responding to the 2013 Calgary Flood as an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Manager. In responding to the 2013 Calgary Flood, Mr. Solecki’s vision of emergency and continuity management was instrumental in providing the unprecedented level of response and recovery for the City of Calgary. Mr. Solecki has pioneered emergency management within the City of Calgary’s Utilities and Environmental Protection Department to ensure continuity of business so that critical services are delivered before, during, and after a disruption. Mr. Solecki has also acted as an emergency management ambassador for Canada internationally, representing Emergency Managers at the United Nations (UNISDR) Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva, Switzerland, and during the development of international crisis standards. Mr. Solecki’s lifelong commitment, determination and unparalleled passion for the advancement of all facets of emergency management, the resilience of communities, and the people of Canada is beyond that of archetypal.

Catherine A. Blair
Catherine A. Blair HBSc, BSc, CEM, ABCP, CMM III-EMP, is the Manager of Emergency Management for Alectra Utilities, the second largest municipally-owned electricity utility in North America. Ms. Blair is known across North America as a leading professional with on-the-ground experience in a wide-ranging number of different emergency events. Ms. Blair is an innovative and collaborative leader, exemplified by her experience in positions such as President of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Canada, Chair of the Toronto West Community Awareness Emergency Response Committee, and Community Emergency Management Coordinator (CEMC) for Mississauga, among other roles. Ms. Blair is a renowned mentor, providing supervision, leadership, and direction to interns and co-op students. When she was CEMC in Mississauga, Ms. Blair developed a community-based Emergency Preparedness program that had special emphasis on the young and the older residents. Ms. Blair is a trailblazer in the field of emergency management who is committed to diversifying the field and has dedicated her life and career to the betterment of emergency management.

Emergency Management British Columbia (EMPB ECC)
(Joshua Andersen, Tyler Patrick Birney, Hannah Carter, Dawn Louise Davis, Ciara Doyle-Waters, Mike Dryburgh, Charles Durrant, Ryan G. Hetschko, Shane Keane, Isabelle Lubas, Richard Morrison, Geoff Pendrel, Perry Roemer, David Schadt, Daniel Schneider, Jim Scott, Jacob Tilson, Donna Weber, Karen Winters, Erin Danielson)

The Emergency Management BC (EMBC) Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) is made up of dedicated, high-functioning emergency responders ready to manage any disaster at a moment to help keep British Columbians safe when they need it most. The EMPB ECC responded in an exemplary manner during and after the major emergencies of the 2017 and 2018 British Columbia flood and wildfire events. The historic flood and wildfire events significantly impacted BC, and EMPB ECC managed a dramatic and sustained surge in their workload and its intensity with professionalism and efficiency. EMPB ECC Operation Officers provided around-the-clock service during these emergency events, with communications from first responders, front-line staff, and affected communities being rerouted to ECC after hours. Despite the increase in length and frequency of work shifts, several ECC Operations Officers made themselves available for additional work in the EMBC Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre on their rest day, further demonstrating their dedication to providing emergency management support to the people of BC. The emergency events of 2017 and 2018 are snapshot examples of the extraordinary service EMPB ECC provides to the citizens of BC but their sustained dedication, consistency, endurance, communication and collaboration over the past 30 years are the true testament to their commitment to excellence in emergency management.

Heather Lyle
Heather Lyle had an illustrious career in emergency management, spanning over 30 years. Ms. Lyle held roles as Emergency Program Coordinator at the Cities of New Westminster and Vancouver, Instructor and Program Coordinator/Manager for the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC), Manager of Emergency Programs with the Corporation of Delta, Manager of the Integrated Public Safety Unit for the 2010 Winter Olympics, Director of Integrated Public Safety (IPS) with Emergency Management British Columbia (EMBC), and Executive Director of Planning for EMBC. Ms. Lyle was a decorated emergency management professional and was responsible for leading the implementation of the Emergency Management Certificate Program, the first in Canada. Ms. Lyle’s contribution, leadership, and career was instrumental in advancing emergency management in British Columbia through extraordinary work and public service, building partnerships, and mentoring those entering or already in this important field of work. Ms. Lyle’s legacy to EMBC and to the province is long-lasting, inspiring, and enduring.

Fire Services Emergency Management Advisory Committee (FEMAC)
(Andrew Payne, Al Chorley, Kevin Green, Ted Skolsky, Dwayne Derban, David Dales, Haida V. Fortier)

The Fire Services Emergency Management Advisory Committee (FEMAC) is made up of seven members from three fire services: North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, North Vancouver City Fire Department, and West Vancouver Fire Rescue. Since its inception in January 2016, FEMAC has demonstrated exemplary teamwork, innovation, and collaboration, as evidenced by their work towards developing a comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan. This document, the Major Emergency Operations Plan (MEOP) is a tri-municipal operations plan serving 3 fire departments, comprising 10 fire stations with a combined staff of 280 uniformed members; serving a population base of 180,000 people. In developing MEOP, the FEMAC team conducted significant research into current best practices from across North America and utilized their critical thinking, project management, and leadership skills to incorporate these lessons to ensure MEOP is an evergreen plan, inclusive to the needs of First Responders and the communities. MEOP is an innovative initiative, driven by the FEMAC, that provides a model for disaster preparedness, response, and community recovery for municipal fire services in Canada. The leadership, dedication, and professionalism the seven members of FEMAC demonstrated in developing the comprehensive MEOP is notable, commendable, and is an example of the importance of collaboration.

James (Jay) N. Ferens
James (Jay) Ferens has been working in the field of emergency and disaster management for over 22 years. As current Regional Manager – Disaster Management for the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority, Mr. Ferens is responsible for the development, implementation, and ongoing maintenance of a comprehensive all-hazards disaster management plan for 37 healthcare facilities, comprising 10 hospitals, 12 personal care homes, 15 primary care health centres/clinics, and 3,300 employees. Mr. Ferens is responsible for planning and implementing staff training and education on an ongoing basis and designing training exercises and drills for all facilities to ensure preparedness across all sites. Under Mr. Ferens’ leadership, the disaster management program provides 24/7 leadership and support, including a direct response for all facilities and programs in the region, and functions as a liaison for local, provincial, federal, and external stakeholders during emergencies. Over the course of his career, Mr. Ferens has been involved in the response for several disasters, including flash floods, tornadoes, ice storms, mass casualty incidents, code white incidents, wildfires, and hospital evacuations. Mr. Ferens has demonstrated tireless commitment to improvement in disaster management, and is constantly striving to create safer, more prepared communities. Mr. Ferens’ current role in disaster management incorporates mitigation, prevention, preparedness, response and recovery based on an all-hazards approach in all aspects of the disaster management program.

Daniel Maher
Daniel Maher has volunteered in the emergency management field for over 27 years. Taking his retirement in 2009, Mr. Maher continues to volunteer his time as an instructor/instructor trainer for St. John Ambulance and as a provincial soccer referee assessor until the present day and is a former chair of Mt. Pearl Special Olympics. In addition photographic services have been donated to most service and sports groups in Mt. Pearl including 38 years with the largest Winter Carnival east of Quebec. Mr. Maher has been involved in many aspects of emergency management planning but his most notable work was his leadership to the three National Emergency Stockpile System teams in Newfoundland and Labrador. Mr. Maher maintained a large quantity of health and social services supplies at all times in the event the NESS was deployed. He led the deployment of resources in response to the 911 attack where 27 flights were grounded at St. John’s International Airport. Support for this type of emergency had not previously been planned for and required a new approach to setting up for the situation. Mr. Maher swiftly deployed resources to the University, local schools and church halls including phone banks, meal arrangements, translations services, medical and clergy services and sleeping arrangements. In addition, as a follow up, all Provincial NESS supplies were removed from storage and reorganized for more rapid deployment in the event this type of emergency reoccurred. Previously, all NESS supplies were stored for rapid and efficient deployment, minimizing truck/shipment space, not anticipating that only certain aspects of the NESS supplies may be deployed. Subsequently, the NESS supplies at provincial sites were divided into their colour codes and placed on pallets with the ward/Nursing supplies placed near the front for quicker deployment. In response to this unprecedented event, Mr. Maher was on his feet for 66 hours! An avid community supporter, and a former Citizen of the Year for the City of Mt. Pearl, Mr. Maher has proven himself to be more than deserving of this prestigious award for his work in ensuring that his community is prepared and resilient to the challenges that may arise.

Search and Rescue Employees

Andrew Morrison

Mr. Morrison has been a Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteer since 1994 and began working with Emergency Management BC in 2009. Since 2014 he has been working with the BC Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA) to develop a sustained and predictable source of funding for Ground Search and Rescue volunteers in British Columbia. Mr. Morrison’s work on this project contributed to the Province providing $18.6 million in one-time funding to ground search and rescue groups throughout the province that has been used over the past three years. The funding provides support  to the BCSARA and GSAR groups by providing administrative support, training to employees and volunteers and the necessary maintenance of equipment as well as developing a new governance and funding model. Mr. Morrison was also actively involved in overhauling the BC GAR Avalanche Safety Plan. His outstanding contributions have supported the overall advancement of search and rescue in the province of British Columbia.

Warrant Officer Dwight Holloway

Enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1977, WO Holloway served the first 19 years of his military career as a Military Air Communication systems operator with the Signals and Airborne Regiments of the Canadian Army. In 1995, he transferred into the primary reserve of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as part of an initiative to help solve some of the radio communication challenges between responding helicopter crews and their home unit. As the first ever signals operator to be employed in a Search and Rescue squadron, WO Holloway has become the longest service military member of 103 Squadron and, 24 years later, he can be credited with setting the standard for how squadron operations are coordinated behind the scenes for timely, effective and uninterrupted SAR responses. WO has provide extraordinary SAR service to Canada whose personal commitment to those in need has contributed to successful outcomes on countless occasions.

Cindy Sheppard

As the Executive Director of SARVAC, Ms. Sheppard is the glue that connects all parts of the volunteer ground search and rescue (GSAR) community. She has taken the lead in drafting and reviewing many successful projects under the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund, notably the GSAR CSA Standards Curriculum Development and Adventure Smart with each of these alone having significant impact on the SAR community and its readiness. Of her many accomplishments, Ms. Sheppard took the lead in ensuring that basic insurance elements were available to all GSAR volunteers in late 2018. She is dedicated in her work to the organization and her direction continues to shape SARVAC and its priorities and outcomes.

Search and Rescue Volunteers

Jim McAllister

Mr. McAllister has been a GSAR volunteer for over 40 years helping to make GSAR in British Columbia the exemplary program that it is today. Mr. McAllister is known for his collaboration and improving multi-agency coordination. He reinvigorated the BC SAR Liaison committee which is comprised of federal and provincial stakeholders. He developed a years of service pin program and led the establishment of a SAR volunteer Memorial to recognize the contribution of volunteers. Mr. McAllister led the development and promotion of AdventureSmart, and helped to formulate policy and set standards for safety and training. Mr. McAllister was also instrumental in the development of the Alternative Support Model for SAR in BC, a model which provided much needed funding to the 80 GSAR groups in British Columbia. Through all of his accomplishments, Mr. McAllister has been instrumental in shaping the future of SAR within the province of British Columbia.

Linda Mushanski

Ms. Mushanski has served as a member of the Naval Reserve for 40 years and has been a member the local Wood River Search and Rescue team for the past six years and is the Adventure Smart Coordinator for Saskatchewan. As an avid outdoor enthusiast, Ms. Mushanski has been directly involved in growing the Program nationally. Not only did her paddling career lend itself perfectly in the PaddeSmart area, her experiences with snowshoeing and cross-country skiing were invaluable in the development of the SNOW and SOS programs. Ms. Mushanski’s dedication and passion to the Adventure Smart program is increasing awareness on and helping reduce the number and severity of search and rescue incidents in Canada.

Donald Marshall

Mr. Marshall is President and a 15-year volunteer with Sault Search and Rescue(SSAR). As president, Mr. Mashall has created and planned countless unique fundraising opportunities to ensure that SSAR can remain operational. He has further dedicated much of his time to raising awareness about the importance of community preparedness to children through the Disaster Dining preparedness education program in local high school food and nutrition classes. Twice a year, local high school classes attend the SSAR rescue headquarters where students are challenged to put a meal together using only non-perishable foods found in an emergency kit. The students also tour the facility and learn the importance of being prepared. Not only is Mr. Marshall committed to preparing children and their families for emergencies, he has personally responded to numerous searches, rescues and recoveries in the Sault and surrounding area. Mr. Marshall is an inspiring leader and has contributed to the safety of his community because of the time he selflessly dedicates to SSAR.

Francis Joseph Boudreau

Mr. Bourdreau, one of the founding members of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary – Maritimes Inc, has volunteered for over 40 years. From his beginnings in the Royal Canadian Navy and his natural love of the sea, he has a natural ability to direct and help others which is especially required when dealing with difficult rescue operations. His tireless work and participation in all joint search and rescue exercises, rescue challenge training has help make the Auxiliary an integral part of search and rescue. Mr. Boudreau is also an advocate for promoting children’s water safety awareness with the Bobbie the Boat water safety program where he conducts educational sessions in schools and public e3vents where children are present. Mr. Boudreau is a dedicated member of the Auxiliary and fully embodies its mandate of “Saving Lives at Sea”.

Joseph “Jerry” McKenna  

Mr. McKenna has been involved in Search and Rescue for 25 years in Newfoundland, Prince Edward, the Northwest Territories and New Brunswick. Since his arrival in 2015, Mr. McKenna helped revive the Miramichi Ground Search and Rescue Team, which was on the verge of collapse. With his strong leadership skills and tireless dedication, the team has grown from fewer than 10 members to more than 50. He has also helped secure financial and other support from local businesses. His efforts have not only helped the team in Miramichi but have also benefitted teams across the province. Mr. McKenna’s successful application for a large grant under the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund (SARNIF) led to the establishment of a provincial training centre in Miramichi that provides free ground search and rescue (GSAR) training and mock exercises to all 10 GSAR teams in the province. Over the past two years, this project has led to a major improvement in capabilities and readiness for the 400 search and rescue volunteers across New Brunswick.

Twila Arsenault

Ms. Arsenault has been a member of the Prince Edward Island Ground Search and Rescue (PEIGSAR) for the past 10 years. Since joining, she took a keen interested in the prevention training program, Adventure Smart. In 2011, she became the program Coordinator responsible for all aspects of the Program and participates in coordination at the national level. Recognizing the demand for the Adventure Smart presentations and geographic challenges, Ms. Arsenault organized the Adventure Smart Committee where she took on the role of soliciting and training PEIGSAR members. The Committee evolved quickly under her leadership and now positions PEIGSAR to deliver Adventure Smart programs all over the province. Ms. Arsenault has been an integral member of the PEIGSAR team and  instrumental in educating the youth in PEI on how to stay safe and enjoy the outdoors responsibly.

Dr. Heather Pringle

Dr. Pringle, an outdoor enthusiast, veterinarian and high school teacher, has been a devoted member of PEI Ground Search and Rescue for 25 years. She is a strong advocate for the team, a promoter of prevention outreach activities to the public, and exceptional contributor to search and rescue training activities. Dr. Pringle has always sought ways to engage the team in meaningful training opportunities, thus ensuring the maintenance and development of skills that will benefit search and rescue and the public at large. She is also the provincial representative with the Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada (SARVAC). In her role with SARVAC, Dr. Pringle has represented the needs of PEIGSAR to the National body. She has given countless hours of her time and is an invaluable member to her team.

Jason Hudson

Mr. Hudson, as president of the Yukon Search and Rescue Association, has advanced emergency management in Canada by investing significant amounts of his own time in ensuring that Yukon maintains a qualified reliable network of ground search-and-rescue volunteers across the territory. Thanks to his diligent implementation of the OneCall member call-out system, Mr. Hudson streamlined the process by which members are notified of a search and greatly reduced the time needed to gather and deploy crews. Mr. Hudson is also an operational volunteer member during emergency response and leads by example when fulfilling numerous roles such as Search Manager, Plans Section Chief, Logistics Section Chief, or as a searcher. His tireless dedication and support for his community have improved the state of emergency preparedness and response in the Yukon.

Date modified: