Role of Local, Federal & Other Governments

Local government has a responsibility to assess local risks, prepare emergency response plans, and to have a delivery capability commensurate with the types and level of hazard that exist in their community

When an emergency occurs, response normally begins with local government (e.g. local fire department) and a bottom up escalation takes place if resources are insufficient. Local governments may be represented within the Incident Management Structure if affected by a large, complex incident.

The federal government has a similar responsibility to assess risk and be prepared to respond. To guide emergency response, the federal government also develops contingency plans. For instance, the Canadian Coast Guard has a Marine Spills Contingency Plan that defines the way it will operate to ensure the monitoring of, or response to, events involving marine pollution.

Environment Canada provides advice to the Coast Guard through a federal science table and through the Environmental Unit at an Incident Command Post (ICP). This environmental advice, information and assistance is provided to the Responsible Party or Unified Command during emergency response situations.

International governments and First Nations may also play a governance/emergency management role by participating in the Emergency Management Structure if they are affected. In addition, there are international agreements, contingency plans and task forces in place to foster international collaboration in the case of an inter-jurisdictional emergency.