Federal Policy for Emergency Management

1. Objective

2. Preamble

3. Effective date

4. Authority

5. Context

6. Definition

7. Policy Requirements

8. Monitoring and Evaluation

9. Reporting

10. References

Appendix A

For purposes of this policy and its supporting directives, the following definitions applyFootnote 1.

All-hazard risk approach - An approach that recognizes that the actions required to mitigate the effects of emergencies are essentially the same, irrespective of the nature of the event, thereby permitting an optimization of scarce planning, response and support resources. The intention of all-hazards generic emergency planning is to employ generic methodologies, modified as necessary by particular circumstances. All-hazards incorporates natural and man-made hazards threats including traditional emergency management events such as flooding and industrial accidents; as well as national security events such as acts of terrorism; and cyber events (FERP).

Critical infrastructure -Refers to processes, systems, facilities, technologies, networks, assets and services essential to the health, safety, security or economic well-being of Canadians and the effective functioning of government. Critical infrastructure can be stand-alone or interconnected and interdependent within and across provinces, territories and national borders (CISAP).

Emergency management – The prevention and mitigation of, preparedness for, response to and recovery from emergencies (EMA).

Emergency management plan – Means a program, arrangement or other measure for:

  1. dealing with an emergency by the civil population; or
  2. dealing with a civil emergency by the Canadian Forces in accordance with the National Defence Act (EMA).

Government institution – Means any department, branch, office, board, agency, commission, corporation or other body for the administration or affairs of which a minister of the Crown is accountable to Parliament (EMA).

Hazard – A potentially damaging physical event, phenomenon or human activity that may cause the loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation (EMF).

Mitigation – Sustained actions taken to eliminate or reduce risks and impacts posed by hazards well before an emergency or disaster occurs; mitigation activities may be included as part of prevention. Measures may be structural (e.g. flood dikes) or non-structural (e.g. land use zoning and building codes) (EMF).

Prevention – Actions taken to avoid the occurrence of negative consequences associated with a given threat; prevention activities may be included as part of mitigation (EMF).

Preparedness – A phase of emergency management consisting in making decisions and taking measures before an emergency, in order to be ready to effectively respond and recover (ECCV).

Provincial emergency – An emergency occurring in a province if the province or a local authority in the province has the primary responsibility for dealing with the emergency (EMA).

Response – A phase of emergency management implemented immediately before, during or after an emergency, and consisting in activities aimed at limiting or preventing damage to life, property or the environment (ECCV).

Recovery – A phase of emergency management consisting in activities aimed at restoring normal conditions after an emergency (ECCV).

Resilience – The capacity of a system, community or society potentially exposed to hazards to adapt, by resisting or changing in order to reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning and structure (EMF).

Risk – The combination of the likelihood and the consequence of a specified hazard being realized; refers to the vulnerability, proximity or exposure to hazards, which affects the likelihood of adverse impact (EMF).

Risk-Based – The concept that sound emergency management decision-making will be based on an understanding and evaluation of hazards, risks and vulnerabilities (EMF).

Risk Management – The use of policies, practices and resources to analyze, assess and control risks to health, safety, environment and the economy (EMF).

Sustainable – A sustainable approach is one that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (EMF).

Threat – The presence of a hazard and an exposure pathway; threats may be natural or human-induced, either accidental or intentional (EMF).

Vulnerability – The conditions determined by physical, social, economic and environmental factors or processes, which increase the susceptibility of a community to the impact of hazards. It is a measure of how well prepared and equipped a community is to minimize the impact of or cope with hazards (EMF).

Appendix B

Relevant current and future documents in support of the Policy

  1. Policy on Government Security
  2. Federal Emergency Response Plan
  3. Business Continuity Program Standard
  4. Emergency Management Planning Guide
  5. Risk assessment methodology
  6. Policy on Evaluation
  7. Communications Policy of the Government of Canada


  1. 1Definitions originate from the Emergency Management Act (EMA), Emergency Framework for Canada (EMF) and, Federal Emergency Response Plan (FERP), and Government of Canada Emergency and Crisis Communication Vocabulary (ECCV), Critical Infrastructure Strategy and Action Plan (CISAP).
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