Canadian Armed Forces Jayson Derow

Are you Prepared? PortsToronto Highlights the Importance of Disaster and Emergency Preparedness

Devastating acts of any magnitude, both on the human scale and against the interests and well being of the nation, continue to raise uncertainty and heighten our awareness regarding the importance of emergency preparedness. Disasters occur in many forms, “be they natural phenomena such as floods, storms, and earthquakes or technological incidents such as pollution controls gone awry, civil disorder or armed conflict to which no nation is immune.”

Not only does PortsToronto’s event stress the importance of marine safety, but also it brings to light the importance of emergency preparedness as a whole.

On May 17, PortsToronto will partner with Transport Canada, Toronto Police Marine Unit, Toronto Fire Marine Unit, Toronto EMS Marine Unit, and the Canadian Coast Guard for its annual marine safety-training day. This day stresses the importance of not only marine safety, but that of emergency preparedness as a whole. From the moment a disaster occurs, citizens are the first, most directly affected. For this reason, organizations such as PortsToronto spend countless hours ensuring that its members of the community are well equipped and prepared to respond to a disaster on the water, should one arise.

Given the complex nature of today’s threats and unpredictable security environment, the NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) and PortsToronto, through publications and emergency preparedness events, provides for an effective forum in which the use of civilian and military assets can be merged to achieve a desired outcome. Not only does PortsToronto’s event stress the importance of marine safety, but also it brings to light the importance of emergency preparedness as a whole.

Given the requirement for the civilian and military communities to develop and maintain robust cooperation, emergency preparedness provides citizens with the awareness needed to effectively react to a disaster. A fundamental aspect of this cooperation is the ability to be informed about the activities and capabilities of the various actors involved in disaster relief. Cooperation with other organizations is therefore a top priority for the NAOC. NAOC, conveniently located in the PortsToronto building on Harbour Street, represents this robust partnership of ensuring the security of both the people of Canada, and its infrastructure. This partnership also provides an interface across a broad range of sectors, thus providing a vast civil network focused on defence and security.

That being said, individuals and communities must not sit idle until a moment of panic or a destructive act against our security is executed to realize the benefits of a good emergency preparedness plan. According to the Government of Canada, “Citizens also have a responsibility to act – a responsibility to work with Government and security personnel, and a responsibility to build strong and supportive local communities.” Only then, once these tasks are shared and the community is prepared for what ever comes their way, will a truly resilient Toronto, and with that, a robust Canada be achieved.

Photo courtesy of Cpl Gerald Cormier, 14 Wing Imaging, Flickr


Disclaimer: Any views or opinions expressed in articles are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the NATO Association of Canada.

Jayson Derow
Jayson Derow is a Research Analyst at the NATO Association of Canada and the President of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association of Canada. Jayson has completed his studies for a Bachelor of Human Justice with a major concentration in Social Justice and Human Rights, a Psychology Minor, a Women’s and Gender Studies Minor, along with a Bachelor of Arts Honours Major in Political Science from the University of Regina. He has also completed a Master of Arts in Political Studies, with a specialization in International Relations at Queen’s University. Jayson is currently pursuing a Certificate in French as a Second Language at the University of Regina. Jayson was previously a policy intern with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) in Washington, D.C. where he worked to raise awareness in the media, on Capitol Hill, and among society as a whole in order to create a country that honours and supports post 9/11 veterans through education, advocacy, and community building. Eight years of military experience in the Canadian Armed Forces with the Royal Regina Rifles and one deployment to Afghanistan in 2010 has influenced his desire to study politics and international relations. His research interests broadly concern American, Canadian, and European foreign and defence policy analysis, Western state relations with NATO, Western policy and the MENA region, and war and civil conflict. Jayson can be reached at or