Parliamentary Committee Notes: Federal Emergency Response Plan (FERP)


March 4, 2022




Canada’s preparedness for any kind of nuclear event

Proposed Response:


On February 24, 2022, Ukraine was invaded by the Russian Federation and Russian forces took control of the facilities of the decommissioned Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Authorities have detected slightly increased levels of radioactivity around Chornobyl, but the radiation detected remains within a normal range. As the conflict escalates, attention has turned to the four operating nuclear power plants in Ukraine. Recent fighting around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has increased concern; data coming from the Ukrainian radiation monitoring network are not showing any increased levels of radiation at this time.

Under the Emergency Management Act – S.C. 2007 (EMA), the Minister of Public Safety is responsible for coordinating the Government of Canada’s response to major events and emergencies. The Federal Emergency Response Plan (FERP) is the Government of Canada’s “all-hazards” response coordination plan, and is implemented when the scope, scale or importance of an emergency event requires an integrated federal government response.

The FERP addresses domestic emergencies and international emergencies with a domestic impact, and is limited to near term response preparedness, immediate response efforts and early recovery arrangements. This plan includes both national and regional level components, which provide a framework for effective integration of efforts both horizontally and vertically throughout the federal government.

The FERP aligns on and operationalises the principles and content of the Emergency Management Act – S.C. 2007, the Federal Policy for Emergency Management (2012), the Emergency Management Framework for Canada (2017), and the Emergency Management Strategy for Canada (2019) by defining the approach, processes and requirements to support a coherent federal approach for response readiness and integrated response operations. This includes but is not limited to:

The FERP applies to all federal government institutions, and does not replace, but should be read in conjunction with, and as complimentary to, event-specific or departmental/agency plans or areas of responsibility.

Should there be a domestic nuclear event, the Federal Nuclear Emergency Plan (FNEP) response level will be assigned based on factors such as the nature, magnitude, progression and location of the event, the actual or potential impacts on Canadians.

In non-emergency situations, the FNEP is maintained at a routine preparedness level, including standard monitoring and other preparedness functions.  The FNEP describes three levels of heightened response, ranging from enhanced monitoring activities through to a full-scale technical response. Levels 1 through 3 are consistent with the response levels under the FERP.

In most cases, the response levels of the FNEP and FERP will be identical during a nuclear emergency.  However, subject to the specific circumstances of the emergency, the trigger to raise the response level of the FNEP and establish the FNEP TAG may be made prior to, concurrently with or following decisions of the FERP response level (for example, in the case of concurrent emergencies, emergencies abroad, or situations that have started as a non-nuclear emergency).

As with the FERP, the FNEP response level will be assigned based on factors such as the nature, magnitude, progression and location of the event, the actual or potential impacts on Canadians, and the need for broader operations as coordinated through the FERMS. FNEP response levels will be established by HC in response to triggers and in consultation with Public Safety Canada/Government Operations Centre and other relevant authorities. 


Prepared by: Johanna Hipolito, Senior Program Advisor, Government Operations Centre, 343-548-4228

Approved by: Trevor Bhupsingh, Assistant Deputy Minister, Emergency Management and Programs Branch, 613-993-4325

Date modified: