The state of security and emergency services in Canada

The Government of Canada depends on its personnel and assets to deliver services that ensure the health, safety, security and economic well-being of Canadians. It must manage these resources with due diligence and take appropriate measures to safeguard them from injury, according to the Canadian Government Security Policy of 2002.

Threats that can cause injury to government personnel and assets, in Canada and abroad, include violence toward employees, unauthorized access, theft, fraud, vandalism, fire, natural disasters, technical failures and accidental damage.

The threat of cyber attack and malicious activity through the Internet is prevalent and can cause severe injury to electronic services and critical infrastructures.

Threats to the national interest, such as transnational criminal activity, foreign intelligence activities and terrorism, continue to evolve as the result of changes in the international environment, the report concluded.

The Government Security Policy states that it prescribes the application of safeguards to reduce the risk of injury. It is designed to protect employees, preserve the confidentiality, integrity, availability and value of assets, and assure the continued delivery of services, according to their website.

Since the Government of Canada relies extensively on information technology (IT) to provide its services, this policy emphasizes the need for departments to monitor their electronic operations.

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) is Canada’s lead department for public safety.PSEPC builds and implements national policies for emergency management and national security to help ensure community safetyby delivering crime prevention programs and developing federal policies for law enforcementand corrections.

For example, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Atlantic tsunami warning system.

“The security of Canadians is a priority of Canada’s new government,” said Minister Stockwell Day. “The devastating tsunami in southeast Asia heightened concerns about tsunami warnings in coastal areas around the world.”

Day announced that the government was taking action “to strengthen (Canada’s) security by activating a warning system for tsunamis along Canada’s East Coast.”

The new Atlantic tsunami warning system uses the same equipment and procedures already in place to issue storm surge warnings to government agencies, the media and the public, according to a State of Emergency FAQ on .

In Canada, a state of emergency can be declared by all levels of government, from municipal to national. All jurisdictions base their emergency plans and procedures on the federal Emergencies Act.

In general, a province or territory can declare a state of emergency if conditions exist which threaten the sovereignty of that region or the safety of its people. The declarations can last for varying periods of time and can be extended to suit the situation.

In most cases, the premier and cabinet have the power to declare a state of emergency and to enact the measures necessary to eliminate the threat.

There are different emergency plans in place for municipalities in different provinces and territories. As with federal and provincial levels of government, municipal and local governments base their emergency plans on the Emergencies Act.

In most cases the head of local government – usually the mayor – makes the declaration after consulting with other members of council. From there, the local government takes the actions necessary to eliminate the threat.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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