Human Resources Committee Report BH.05.OCT1116.R09: Emergency Preparedness Update

Human Resources Committee Report BH.05.OCT1116.R09

October 11, 2016

Report to: Human Resources Committee, Board of Health

Submitted by: Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health & CEO



(a) That the Human Resources Committee make recommendation to the Board of Health to receive this report, as presented, for information. 


This report is an update on the emergency preparedness program in follow-up to the Emergency Preparedness Health and Safety Framework Report of June 2016, which detailed how the two disciplines complement each other now as one combined function within Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH).

WDGPH maintains a comprehensive emergency preparedness program for the purpose of preparing for, and responding to, any community health emergency or an emergency with health impacts, as well as to internal emergencies that may impact the ability of agency to carry out its regular business.

A key part of the program is the emergency preparedness plan. One of the main focuses has been an ongoing full review/revision of the WDGPH emergency preparedness plan. The goal is to make the plan more user-friendly and to reduce duplication between sections of the plan. On June 8, 2016, a working draft of the plan was presented to directors and managers to familiarize them with the plan and to provide the opportunity to offer feedback. Each director and manager was given a binder containing the draft plan which will be updated with final sections of the plan as they are completed. Currently, sections specific to certain program areas are being reviewed by program managers in order to provide program specific expertise.

One of the Ontario Public Health Standards requirements is to exercise the emergency preparedness plan. In follow up to the emergency preparedness plan overview with staff, a full day of emergency preparedness training was provided on June 14, 2016 for 30 staff including all directors, managers and certain other positions which have been involved in recent incident response events. A prerequisite of this full day program was the requirement for all participants to complete the IMS 100 on line program. The training content was developed by the Emergency Preparedness department of Public Health Ontario and the workshop was titled “Public Health Emergency Preparedness: an IMS based workshop”. The workshop introduced emergency management concepts and then most of the day was spent in groups working through a table top exercise based on public health’s involvement in a major county fair. The scenario progressively worsened into an emergency which required multijurisdictional collaboration to deal with the response efforts. 

Overall, WDGPH has an ongoing continuous improvement strategy in place to strengthen our emergency preparedness plan and staff response readiness through continuously planning, implementing, analyzing, and improving our emergency preparedness program. It parallels the emergency management cycle by having programs in place for prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. 

Emergency Management Cycle

Public Health and/or Financial Implications

The Ontario Public Health Standards requires that boards of health are:

Able to ensure a consistent and effective response to public health emergencies and emergencies with public health impacts1


Prepared by: David George, Emergency Preparedness Health & Safety Officer, Administrative Services 

Reviewed by: Elizabeth Bowden, Interim Director, Administrative Services  

Approved by: Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health & CEO 


1 Ontario. Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Ontario public health standards-emergency preparedness standard. Toronto, ON: Queen’s Printer for Ontario; 2008 [revised 2015 Oct; cited 2014 May 1]. Available from:… [PDF].