POOR EMER­GENCY PLAN­NING LEAVES ON­TARIO UNREADY

Ottawa Citizen - - CITY - — An­tonella Ar­tuso

Au­di­tors found an inch of dust on On­tario’s plan of ac­tion in case of ma­jor emer­gen­cies like ter­ror­ism or a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter.

A com­mit­tee of On­tario politi­cians re­spon­si­ble for over­see­ing the prov­ince’s re­sponse to ma­jor emer­gen­cies hasn’t met in years, au­di­tors have re­vealed.

And that’s just one in a num­ber of weak­nesses in emer­gency man­age­ment iden­ti­fied in the an­nual au­di­tor’s re­port, such as “sig­nif­i­cant” bud­get cuts and high turnover in lead­er­ship.

“It is es­sen­tial in a prov­ince the size of On­tario that the gov­ern­ment be ready to act in the event of an emer­gency,” au­di­tor general Bon­nie Lysyk said in a state­ment Wed­nes­day. “But plans have not been up­dated in years, and prac­tis­ing for emer­gen­cies through sim­u­la­tions are not fre­quently done.”

The prov­ince that is home to nu­clear plants and once ex­pe­ri­enced a mas­sive elec­tric­ity black­out has no co-or­di­nated in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, the au­di­tors found.

An at­tempt was made in 2009 to cor­rect that fail­ing but was aban­doned in 2015 af­ter blow­ing $7.5 mil­lion, the IT project plagued with delays and “user dis­sat­is­fac­tion,” the re­port notes.

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