Networking Opportunities for Emergency Managers in Ontario

Are you: New to Emergency Management or Business Continuity?  An Emergency Management Professional looking to give back to your community?  A First Responder, Health Professional, Risk Management Professional, Private Consultant, Business Continuity Coordinator, IT Professional, or an Emergency Manager from a public or private organization?

Who we are: The Ontario Association of Emergency Managers (OAEM) is the Home of the Ontario Emergency Management Community;   a collaborative network of Emergency Managers comprised of public and private partnerships and memberships.

Our Platform: The website,, serves as the central hub for OAEM’s emergency management community outreach platform that includes associated social media conduits that feed into the main site: TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

What we offer:

  • Our professional development sessions and our Annual General Conference are great ways to network with potential clients
  • Host an event or partner with us to promote your organization and build on an established network
  • Join one of our sub-groups that are launching this winter to collaborate with Small to Medium Enterprise’s across private and public forums
  • Mentor a young professional through our new mentorship program
  • Receive our quarterly member newsletter to remain apprised of EM trends, hot topics and upcoming events through the Association

How to get involved?

Head to our website and check us out or follow us on social media!

Have membership questions?  Send an email to: Amber Rushton, Membership Chairat

Interested in a sponsorship opportunity and hosting an event?  Reach out to our Sponsorship Chair, Paul Hassanally at

Researchers Invent a Sponge for Oil Spill Cleanup

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Lab recently announced that that had invented a new material that could completely revolutionize the way oil spills are cleaned up.

The sponge foam, called Oleo Sponge, can soak up 90 times its own weight in oil before it needs to be wrung out to be reused — and the oil can be recovered.

                                                                                                                   Oleo Sponge

“The material is extremely sturdy. We’ve run dozens to hundreds of tests, wringing it out each time, and we have yet to see it break down at all,” co-inventor Seth Darling said in a release.

Currently, most products for cleaning up oil are single use, and the oil is wasted.  One of the most common products is a sorbent boom — a long tube that’s thrown on the surface of the water to soak up part of the spill, before being removed to be safely disposed of.  It, and other solutions, can be pricey and slow.

Darling and his team tested the sponge at a giant seawater tank at the National Oil Spill Response Research and Renewable Energy Test Facility in New Jersey.

The researchers say it could be used to clean harbors and ports, where diesel and oil can accumulate from ships. They say it could also be adapted to clean different substances, by modifying the type of molecule that grabs onto the dirty substance.

The Argonne National Laboratory is a multidisciplinary science and engineering research center. The Laboratory was born out of the University of Chicago’s work on the Manhattan Project in the 1940.

RemTEC Summit – March 7th to 9th

The RemTEC Summit delivers a truly unique platform focused on advancing the environmental science and remediation industry.  It is the place where you can hear essential sources of information on technology, application and policy impacting the restoration of contaminated sites from the world’s leading experts within the academic, regulatory and environmental-consulting communities.

The RemTEC Summit is scheduled for March 7th to the 9th at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado.

Emergency Managers Conference and AGM – May 11th and 12th

The Ontario Association of Emergency Managers (OAEM) will be holding their 17th annual conference and annual general meeting (AGM) on May 11th and 12th in Burlington, Ontario.

There will be a diverse list of speakers and subject matter experts including professionals from the the public sector, private sector, non-government organizations and more.  Speakers include the following:

·        Jean-Pierre Taschereau – Director, Emergency Operations, Canadian Red Cross talking about the Fort McMurry Wildfire;

·        Jim Montgomery – Deputy Chief, Emergency Management, City of Ottawa speaking about the Sinkhole Event in his City, and

·        Ivana Di Millo – Director, Communications, City of Mississauga who will be providing a historic perspective of the Mississauga Explosion.

The price for the conference is very reasonable and is as follows:

  • Students $80
  • Early bird Member $80 (First 30 to register)
  • Member and Partner Organizations $100
  • Early bird Non-Member $110 (First 30 to register)
  • Non-Member $130

For questions, please contact:

·        Attendees –

·        Vendors –

·        Media –


Free Webinar on Management Excess Soil

A free webinar on the about the recently launched Excess Soils By-Law Tool and the Ontario Excess Soil Management Policy Framework will be held on February 17th from noon to 1 pm (EST).  The tool provides links to municipal site alteration and fill by-lawsin Southern Ontario and guidance about how to address common issues through municipal by-laws including permits, fill management plans and fees and cost recovery.

Hosted by the Canadian Urban Institute, the free webinar is scheduled for February 17th from 12:00-1:00 PM (EST).

Excess soil is typically generated during excavation during construction.  It is considered an important resource as it supports plant growth, stores and filters water and provides habitat for organisms, among other functions.  To help preserve this resource, good soil management practices should be implemented to minimize soil excavation during construction and allow for reuse on site. When excess soils are generated, they may be used at another site for a beneficial purpose, provided do not have an adverse effect on the receiving site or impair the water quality.

The Ontario Excess Soil Management Policy Framework is a policy framework for soil management that supports the reuse of excess soil for beneficial uses, in a way that protects human health and the environment.  The final framework contains two key goals related to excess soil:

·       Protect human health and the environment from inappropriate relocation of excess soil; and

·       Enhance opportunities for the beneficial reuse of excess soil and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the movement of excess soil.

The Excess Soil Management Policy Framework also includes a set of principles to guide policy and program development, a description of existing policy, roles and responsibilities and a series of policy needs, actions and priorities to move forward on.

Webinar on Biodegradation of 1,4-Dioxane

A free webinar is scheduled for February 23rd on Biodegradation of 1,4-Dioxane: Bacteria, Pathways, Co-contaminant Effects and Monitoring Tools.  The speaker for the webinar is Dr. Shaily Mahendra, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UCLA.

The webinar will be hosted by SiREM, a company that provides testing services and remediation products combined with technical support to the remediation of contaminated sites.  SiREM’s focus is the remediation of chlorinated solvents, metals, petroleum hydrocarbons and other recalcitrant contaminants in soil, sediment and groundwater.

The webinar will combine recent research and development activities for new and emerging contaminants and technologies with real word applications to characterize and remediate contaminated sites.  Specifically, the webinar will discuss the challenges with current remediation techniques for cleanup of 1,4-dioxane contaminated sites, a microbial culture which can grow using 1,4-dioxane as its only source of carbon and energy, and the role of monooxygenase enzymes in catalyzing 1,4-dioxane degradation.

The webinar will also include a discussion from Sandra Dworatzek (SiREM) who will provide an update on the work SiREM is doing to grow 1,4-dioxane microbial cultures, testing the microbial culture in laboratory microcosm studies and culture scale up for field applications.

To register for the free webinar, visit SiREM’s website.

The State of Green Business in 2017

According to the 2017 State of Green Business Report authored by GreenBiz Group Inc., companies continue to ratchet up their commitments and achievements on renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable supply chains, water and land stewardship, the circular economy and other aspects of a sustainable enterprise.  Technology continued its inexorable march, accelerating sustainability solutions in energy, buildings, transportation, food and just about everywhere else.

However, the report also states that indicators continue to be troubling including global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and the loss of natural capital.  The report further states that the recent U.S. election brings into question the future of future climate action and environmental protection.

The report predicts that the coming year or two in the U.S. may see head-snapping policy shifts as the public and private sector grapple with two seemingly unstoppable forces: the political momentum of an increasingly nationalist and protectionist world, and the wrath of a changing climate on a civilization ill-prepared to cope.

On the brighter side, the report states that corporate innovation, boosted by technology’s rampant pace, is enabling radical new levels of efficiency in materials, energy, water and other resources.  The Internet of Things — the interconnected world of tens of billions of objects that can talk to one another, and to us, and make real-time optimization decisions — is enabling buildings, vehicles, power grids, factories and many other things to do far more with fewer resources.  Cities and regions are accelerating their quest to become greener and more resilient, luring corporations to relocate there amid transit hubs and culture centers.


Best Practices for Environmental Site Management

The U.S. EPA recently issued an Issue Paper entitled Best Practices for Environmental Site Management: Recommended Contents of a Groundwater Monitoring Report(U.S. EPA 542-F-16-005).

The purpose of the issue paper is to recommend information to include in groundwater monitoring reports that will lead to improved report consistency and a useful, readable format. Incorporation of the recommended information will standardize groundwater monitoring report deliverables, which may in turn inform site characterization strategies, analysis of remedial alternatives, monitoring network optimization, remedy performance evaluation, continual refinement of the conceptual site model (CSM), and technical evaluation of groundwater data in five-year reviews.


$350M Spent on Planning the Remediation of a Yukon Mine

According to a recent article in the National Post, over $350 million has been spent to clean up an abandoned mine in the Yukon with no actual work being done at the site.  The Treasury Board of Canada’s annual report revealed that no actual remediation has occurred at the Faro Mine in Yukon over the past decade although considerable sums of money have been spent on studying and planning.

Classified as one of Canada’s largest contaminated site, the Faro Mine covers 2,500 hectares (6,200 acres).  The mine is located 15 kilometres (9 miles) north of the Town of Faro in Yukon Territory. The mine operated from 1969 to 1998, when its last operator declared bankruptcy and abandoned the site.

The mine site has approximately 70 million tonnes of tailings and 320 million tonnes of waste rock that require remediation to protect human health, as well as the local land, water and wildlife.

The remediation of the Faro mine site is being led by the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon.  This includes representatives from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s Northern Contaminated Sites Program and from the Assessment and Abandoned Mines branch of the Government of Yukon’s Department of Energy, Mines and Resources.

The financial responsibility for the site resides with the Government of Canada who provides funding for care and maintenance operations and remediation planning through the Federal Contaminated Sites Program.

“The biggest problem has been figuring out what to do,” said Lou Spagnuolo, the Vancouver-based Faro mine remediation project director for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), which has the lead on the mine clean-up, and is also working with the Yukon government and affected First Nations communities.

Between 2003 and 2009, more than 100 technical studies and assessments were undertaken, and 12 plans created to deal with various levels of government and affected communities.  A remediation plan was supposed to be in place by 2011.

In 2009, remediating the site was projected to take another 40 years and cost $450 million, according to a statement made at the time by a committee of senior officials from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (as it was known at the time), the Yukon Government, Selkirk First and Ross River Dena Council.

Parsons Corp., a California-based engineering and construction giant, recently won a $58-million contract to provide care and maintenance at the Faro mine site over the next four years.  Before Parsons, Denison Mines Inc. had the contract for $32 million.

These numbers are out of whack with the Treasury Board of Canada annual reports, which indicate that since 2005, just over $29 million has been spent on care and maintenance at the Faro mine, while more than $241 million has been spent on remediation.

The Yukon Conservation Society, a local environmental non-profit, is calling for an audit of Faro mine spending.  “Canadian taxpayers have already spent more than a quarter-billion dollars, and nothing has happened,” said Lewis Rifkind, the organization’s mining analyst.  “There hasn’t been any remediation or results on the ground.  We have no idea where the money has gone, and they’re still issuing contracts like crazy,” he added.

Spagnuolo, the Faro mine remediation project director, estimates that $150 million has been spent on care and maintenance at Faro.  Annual monitoring, regulatory compliance and site assessments, which are not included in care and maintenance contracts, have cost another $60 million, he said. Addressing problems at the deteriorating site, including installing a new water treatment system and covering a section of waste rock that was releasing contaminates, have cost an additional $60 million.  The remaining $80 million went to “overhead,” said Spagnuolo, including First Nation consultations and government salaries.

Consulting costs of the Faro mine remediation include the $82 million paid to CH2M Hill since 2011, according to the Yukon government’s contract registry.

The current timeframe for a remediation plan is 2018.  It is anticipated that the plan will include re-sloping the waste rock piles, installing engineered soil covers over the tailings and waste rock, and upgrading the contaminated water collection and treatment system.

If the plan is approved and the federal government agrees to foot the bill, actual remediation activities are expected to begin in 2024 and take about 40 years to complete.

Image source: Beste Forbrukslån

Site of New Ottawa Hospital on Contaminated Land

Recent documents released by Public Services and Procurement Canada shows that the site proposed for a new hospital in Ottawa has groundwater contamination.

In 2014, the Sir John Carling Building was demolished in Ottawa to pave way for a new hospital.  Reports recently made public show that the groundwater at the site is contaminated and the cost of clean-up could be substantial.

Phenol contamination in the groundwater found at the site in 2014, shortly after the Sir John Carling Building was demolished, is suspected to be from the explosives used demolishing the building.

Management and control of the contamination at the site is currently the responsibility of Public Works Canada.  An environmental protection compliance order (EPCO) issued by Environment Canada and Climate Change (ECCC) requires that Public Works Canada monitor the groundwater and ensure no contamination migrates off-site.

An EPCO is one of the tools under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999” (CEPA 1999) that allows enforcement officers from ECCC to handle offences without using the court system.  Its purpose is to restore an offender to compliance with the CEPA 1999 as quickly as possible.  EPCOs may be issued to prevent a violation from occurring; stop or correct a violation that is occurring or continues to occur; and correct an omission where conduct is required by CEPA 1999 or one of its regulations, but is not occurring.

One of the concerns expressed with respect to the need to clean-up the site is that the monies used will take away design, construction, and operating costs associated with the hospital.