Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Declaring an Emergency


An emergency is defined under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act as “a situation or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise.”

Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, only the head of council of a municipality (or his or her designate) and the Lieutenant Governor in Council or the Premier have the authority to declare an emergency.

An emergency declaration may extend to all or any part of the geographical area under the jurisdiction of the municipality.

If the decision is made to declare an emergency, the municipality must notify Emergency Management Ontario as soon as possible. Although a verbal declaration of emergency is permitted, all declarations should ultimately be made in writing to ensure proper documentation is maintained.