Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Communication Materials


Incident Management System Fact Sheet


Consistent with internationally recommended practices, Ontario has developed an Incident Management System (IMS) that provides standardized organizational structures, functions, processes and terminology for use at all levels of emergency response in Ontario. The Ontario IMS was developed with input from over 30 emergency response organizations and stakeholders. The development of an incident management system for use in Ontario was as a result of lessons learned from a series of significant events, such as the 2003 Blackout and SARS incidents, and therefore addresses the need for coordinated responses to large-scale and complex incidents.


The vision of Ontario's IMS project is that all responders in Ontario will have a standardized system that provides functional interoperability at all levels of emergency management. IMS is a scaleable approach based on a series of principles and concepts that include the following:

  • All incidents responses can be organized using five functional areas of activity: Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance & Administration.
  • IMS is applicable at all incidents and by all levels of response (for example, on-site response and Emergency Operations Centre support/responses).
  • The system is scalable and modular. Ontario's IMS doctrine can be considered a toolbox for incident response. Only the tools needed for each incident are used.
  • The use of common terminology and criteria ensures mutual understanding amongst responders and facilitates the exchange of resources.

Why is IMS Needed?

Many factors contributed to the need for a provincial IMS:

  • Provincial commitment to ever-improving system of emergency management
  • Desire to improve coordinated response efforts between Ontario's diverse emergency management stakeholders, based on internationally recommended practices and lessons learned
  • Previously, there was no standardized province-wide incident management system in Ontario, resulting in a lack of standardized tools, processes, terminology, functions
  • High profile public concern with low tolerance for failure

Why Create an Ontario IMS?

Developing an IMS for Ontario was found to be the most appropriate basis to:

  • Take advantage of the strengths of existing emergency management systems in Ontario
  • Reflect Ontario's unique stakeholder groups, legislation and emergency management framework
  • Respect and incorporate Ontario's existing structures
  • Maintain consistency with systems practised in contiguous states and provinces

Benefits of IMS

IMS is built on recommended practices and reflects Ontario's unique needs:

  • Created in partnership with all of Ontario's major emergency response organization / stakeholder groups
  • Facilitates cooperation between all response organizations to manage all types of incidents
  • Efficient, scalable, flexible, standardized and cost-effective
  • Standardized training (free of charge)
  • Supports and incorporates organizations not already using IMS

Current Resources

  • IMS Doctrine for Ontario
  • IMS Training
  • Guideline for the Application of IMS at Emergency Operations centers (EOCs) (Interim approved)
  • IMS Forms (Interim approved)
  • IMS PowerPoint Presentation,
  • IMS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  • IMS Fact Sheet
  • IMS Website and Email Alerts:
  • IMS Training
  • An IMS Training program has been developed to support IMS implementation in Ontario. For more information on IMS training visit the IMS website at
IMS course status and delivery method
Delivery Method
IMS-100 Introduction to IMS
Online E-Learning
Online Reading Package
IMS-200 Basic IMS
IMS-300 Intermediate IMS
Under Development
IMS-400 Advanced IMS
Under Development
IMS-910 IMS Instructor

IMS course status and delivery method

Implementing IMS

The IMS Steering Committee identified 8 key Measures to assist organizations in implementing IMS:


  • awareness of IMS in your organization


  • endorse IMS

Adopting IMS in Policy

  • IMS in your emergency plans and policies

Adopting IMS in Procedures

  • IMS in your emergency procedures

IMS Training

  • IMS training in your organization

Designate an IMS instructor for your organization

  • with IMS

Use IMS in exercises

  • with IMS

Use IMS in responding to real incidents

  • IMS in for planned events


  • a plan for sustainable implementation of IMS in your organization

Learn More About IMS

  • Visit for more IMS information and resources
  • Sign up for IMS Email Alerts (at the IMS website)
  • Contact your stakeholder representative (organization, association, municipal, Ministry, sector) or EMO
  • Attend upcoming IIMS presentations and workshops, as advertised
  • Register for IMS training opportunities at