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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is an emergency?

An emergency is a situation or impending situation caused by the forces of nature, an accident or an intentional act that constitutes a danger of major proportion to life and property. (In accordance with the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act)

Who can declare an emergency?

The Head of Council of a Municipality may declare that an emergency exists in the Municipality or in any part thereof and may take such action and may make such orders as he/she considers necessary and are not contrary to law to implement the emergency plan of the Municipality and to protect the property, health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the emergency area. (In accordance with the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act)

What does it mean if the city declares a state of emergency?

Emergency declarations can be made in circumstances where the Head of Council, in consultation with senior staff determines that such action would be in the best interest of the municipality based on the perceived or apparent threat.

Generally speaking, a declaration would be considered if there was an existing situation or impending situation that:

  • Threatened public safety, public health, the environment, critical infrastructure, property, and/or economic stability.
  • Exceeded the capacity of the community's emergency response.
By declaring a state of emergency, the municipality is able to:

  • Extend Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) coverage to volunteers recruited by the municipality.
  • Make claims for financial assistance for disaster recovery.
Declaring a state of emergency does not mean that the municipality can take actions that are contrary to law. All laws must still be obeyed during emergency situations by both the public and the municipality.

Declaring a state of emergency does not guarantee the municipality will receive financial assistance from the Provincial or Federal government for disaster relief. Municipalities must apply for financial assistance to the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP).

What does it mean if the city requests a disaster declaration?

Requesting a disaster declaration is a component of the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP).

Municipal council must adopt a resolution and forward it to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing within 14 working days of the onset of the disaster to request the Minister to declare a 'disaster area' for the purposes of ODRAP.

What is the Ontario Disaster Assistance Program (ODRAP)?

The program provides financial assistance within the declared disaster area to restore damaged public infrastructure and/or private property to pre-disaster condition when the cost of restoration exceeds the financial capacity of the affected individuals, municipality and community at large.

For additional information about ODRAP, see Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
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Sault Ste. Marie, ON
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