Justice and Public Safety Minister Doug Currie joined Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers responsible for emergency management in Toronto earlier this week to discuss emergency management priorities and approve initiatives including the Strategy and Action Plan for Communications Interoperability.
“The Strategy and Action Plan for Communications Interoperability is a positive step forward to improve the ability of public safety providers to talk to each other when responding to emergencies,” said Mr. Currie. “We are pleased to be working with our colleagues in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick towards a fully interoperable, regional mobile radio communications system in the Maritime provinces. This work has been underway since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the provinces in August, 2008.”
The Maritime Radio Communications Initiative (MRCI) is a tri-province project aimed toward acquiring an interoperable voice communications for province-wide and regional response between the three Maritime provinces.
The Ministers had a full two-day agenda, including discussions on a National Emergency Response System, and agreement on a Provincial-Territorial Memorandum of Understanding for Mutual Aid among provinces and territories in the time of need.
The National Emergency Response System, a component of the Emergency Management Framework for Canada, enables the coordination of federal response to emergencies which supports the province’s jurisdiction and area of responsibility. Each province and territory has developed a governance structure for coordinating the response to emergencies within the jurisdiction. Emergency Management in Prince Edward Island is guided by the Emergency Measures Act and the Prince Edward Island All Hazards Emergency Plan.
The Provincial-Territorial Memorandum of Understanding for Mutual Aid can be activated when an emergency overwhelms a province or territory. The MOU does not create legally binding obligations; it simply creates a framework for closer cooperation so provinces can effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies.
“The Memorandum of Understanding for Prince Edward Island was signed in September 2009 and has since helped us develop closer relations with emergency management officials in our neighbouring provinces,” said Mr. Currie. “Not only are we working with other jurisdictions in Canada to ensure emergency assistance is available when needed, this agreement mirrors an international arrangement between the Eastern Canadian Provinces and the New England States for emergency management mutual aid response at the provincial and state level through the International Emergency Management Group (IEMG).”
IEMG works to provide for mutual assistance among States and Provinces in managing any type of emergency or disaster whether arising from natural, technological or man-made causes. The group has established an International Emergency Management Assistance Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which provides for the development of planning mechanisms among the member jurisdictions’ emergency management agencies and for mutual cooperation, joint exercises and other training activities. Prince Edward Island Director of Public Safety, Aaron Campbell, is the Canadian co-chair for this group.
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