The Town of Innisfil declared a State of Emergency on March 24, 2020.
Why is the Town of Innisfil staying in a State of Emergency?
On March 24, 2020, the Town of Innisfil declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Town is following the lead of Simcoe County, which is electing to stay in a state of emergency at this time. The continued state ensures that our residents and businesses continue to be vigilant and adhere to the recommendations of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit during this ongoing global pandemic.
We continue to work closely with our local public health officials and monitor phased re-opening plans and are looking ahead for a potential second wave over the fall and winter. Our community has made immense sacrifices and shown remarkable caring for each others’ safety by abiding by public health guidelines. Now is not the time to relax – or to give our community the perception that the pandemic is over.
The Town’s state of emergency will remain in effect until further notice. The Emergency Control Group continues to assess the necessity of the local emergency declaration.
Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19 Act)
As Ontario moves into stage 3 of reopening, Ontario has transitioned into the recovery phase with the new Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act. While the provincial declaration of emergency has ended, the new act will provide the province with the necessary flexibility to address the ongoing risks and effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Some emergency orders that were previously in place under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, will continue under the new act. This includes orders related to labour redeployment in long-term care and retirement homes, stages of reopening, compliance with public health advice and gatherings.
Emergency Response Plan
The Town of Innisfil has an Emergency Response Plan that allows for a timely and effective response and recovery. The Plan enables a coordinated response to emergencies and meets the legislated requirements of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The Plan:
- Provides for efficient and rapid deployment of emergency services throughout Innisfil
- Maximizes our efforts and resources across all departments/service areas and other local agencies, governments, and nongovernmental organizations
- Minimizes the impact of the emergency on the health, safety and welfare of our community by outlining procedures, preparedness guidelines, roles and responsibilities
- Helps identify and acquire additional resources to adequately deal with an emergency
Emergency Control Group (ECG)
The Emergency Control Group (ECG) operates through the structure of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). The ECG is made up of members of Council and senior staff from the Town of Innisfil and our “One Town, One Team” partners (Innisfil Fire & Rescue, Innisfil ideaLAB & Library, InnPower, InnServices, and South Simcoe Police Service).
The ECG/EOC is activated when one or more of the following criteria is met:
- The situation poses an imminent threat of major proportions to the health, safety or well-being of the people or environment within the Town of Innisfil.
- The situation poses an imminent threat of major proportions or is causing widespread disruption to the conduct of normal business within the Corporation.
- The situation requires a response that exceeds, or threatens to exceed the normal capabilities of the Town of Innisfil response agencies for either resources or personnel.
- The situation has the potential to expand beyond the Innisfil area.
- The situation poses a widespread threat to the Town of Innisfil municipal infrastructure needed for the delivery of critical services.
- The current level of multi-agency response is of such duration that the widespread replacement of human resources or other resources has or will become an ongoing situation.
- The situation, actual or anticipated, is leading to large-scale public anxiety.
- The situation is likely to require extraordinary emergency spending outside of current budgetary approvals as a result of damage to property and infrastructure.
- The provincial government has declared a provincial emergency, which has an impact on Ontario as the result of a catastrophic event or situation.
The COVID-19 pandemic meets many of the criteria above.
The ECG provides strategic direction to the Town’s response to emergencies, in this case, the COVID-19 pandemic. The group meets regularly to assess the emergency and coordinates resources and staff to minimize its effects. The ECG ensures that necessary municipal operations within Innisfil continue (e.g. fire and emergency response, water and wastewater, roads and operations, etc.) during an emergency period.
Examples of actions that may be taken by the ECG at the EOC to provide continuity of operations may include (but not be limited to):
- Providing executive authority and policy direction.
- Reallocation of staff, resources or equipment.
- Providing/acquiring resources to ensure that essential services are maintained and kept as safe as possible.
- Cancellation and resumption of services.
The ECG is made up of members of Council and senior staff from the Town of Innisfil and our “One Town, One Team” partners (Innisfil Fire & Rescue, Innisfil ideaLAB & Library, InnPower, InnServices, and South Simcoe Police Service). The ECG has various roles with designated staff and alternates:
- Head of Council (Mayor) or alternate (Deputy Mayor or Ward Councillor)
- EOC Director (Chief Administrative Officer or alternate)
- Risk Management/Legal Officer (Director of Legal Services/Clerk or alternate)
- Liaison Officer (Community Emergency Management Coordinator)
- Emergency Information Officer (Communications Lead)
- Citizen Inquiry (Customer Service Supervisor)
- Operations Section Chief
- Planning Section Chief
- Logistics Section Chief
- Finance/Administration Section Chief
- External agencies and additional Town of Innisfil staff as required
- Any other officials, experts, or representatives from the public or private sector as deemed necessary by the ECG
All ECG participants have input and make decisions collectively for the good of the community. Delegated authority can be passed down through Council to help make decisions quickly and efficiently.
COVID-19 pandemic staff reports
Each report contains pandemic response updates, including programs, department updates, and background information:
- DSR-187-20 – November 25, 2020
- DSR-118-20 – August 12, 2020
- DSR-087-20 – June 24, 2020
- DSR-072-20 – May 13, 2020
- DSR-053-20 – April 8, 2020
- DSR-048-20 – March 25, 2020
Managing stress during the pandemic
Typically, a State of Emergency only lasts for a few days or a week, but due to the unprecedented disruption of COVID-19, it is appropriate to continue in this way. Sustained emergencies can be particularly stressful. If you are in need of mental health support, we encourage you to connect with the below resources:
- Canadian Mental Health Association – 705-728-5044 (local) or 1-888-893-8333 (toll-free)
- BounceBack Ontario – 1-866-345-0224
- Ontario Telemedicine Network (Big White Wall)
- ConnexOntario (Mental Health Helpline) – 1-866-531-2600
If you are in crisis, please call 1-833-456-4566.