Government Operations Centre (GOC)

On behalf of the Government of Canada, to lead and support response coordination of events affecting the national interest.

The Government Operations Centre (GOC) provides an all-hazards integrated federal emergency response to events (potential or actual, natural or human-induced, accidental or intentional) of national interest. It provides 24/7 monitoring and reporting, national-level situational awareness, warning products and integrated risk assessments, as well as national-level planning and whole-of-government response management. During periods of heightened response, the GOC is augmented by staff from other government departments/agencies (OGD) and non-governmental organizations (NGO) who physically work in the GOC and connect to it virtually.  

What the GOC Does...

24/7 Monitoring and Reporting

The GOC continuously monitors events of national significance (24/7) and shares information with senior officials and provincial/territorial (P/T) governments, as well as NGOs and the private sector, when appropriate. The GOC is connected to multiple information and intelligence sources—media, law enforcement, intelligence organizations, emergency management organizations, private sector bodies—at international, federal government, P/T and NGO levels. 

National-Level Situational Awareness

Based on information and intelligence flow, and as a result of coordinated sharing with appropriate partners, the GOC is able to build and share common situational awareness at the national level related to all hazards, emerging or occurring, in the national interest.

Warning Products and Integrated Risk Assessments

Based on ongoing situational awareness, products related to emerging and occurring events are prepared and distributed to appropriate partners. These products may include notifications of events, situation reports that provide updates on an event and event-related activities, technical reports and geomatics products to facilitate sharing and understanding of issues. The GOC conducts risk assessments based on information and intelligence to provide senior and elected officials and the private sector with accurate, timely and comprehensive information to quickly develop appropriate responses to an occurring event. 

National-Level Planning

The GOC assesses the requirement for the development or amendment of plans to prevent, mitigate or manage events. Event-specific contingency plans (e.g. pandemic plans, flood plans, earthquake plans) include the coordination of various departments’ provision of personnel and goods, transportation of resources and actions with respect to events in the national interest. Requests for assistance from both federal and P/T governments come to the GOC and are part of the planning process. Planning is always done in concert and coordination with partners in order to harmonize existing authorities and responsibilities.

Whole-of-Government Response Management

Concurrent to all the above activities is the management of the response to the event itself. Response management is principally the coordinated implementation of plans or established processes in concert with all partners to ensure a harmonized response to the event. Additionally, issues are identified for continued planning and decision making.

Support to Senior Officials

The GOC, working with all partners, keeps senior officials informed of evolving events and identifies issues that need their engagement for resolution. These issues are assessed and courses of action are developed which are presented for senior-level decision or guidance through the GOC. Decisions are implemented through the GOC.

Federal Emergency Response Plan

The Federal Emergency Response Plan has been developed to ensure coordinated federal response to emergencies where an integrated Government of Canada response is required. The Plan encompasses both national and regional-level components, which provides a framework for effective integration of effort through the federal government.

National Exercises

The GOC Exercise Section is responsible for coordinating the selection of exercise priorities and the Federal Priority Exercise (National Level) in collaboration with the federal exercise community, and for managing the National Exercise Program.

Based on the approved Priority Exercise, the GOC may be the exercise lead, or may be supporting the sponsoring federal organization. This function includes the design, development, delivery and evaluation of whole of government exercises. The GOC is also responsible to deliver exercises to Senior Management Committees within the Federal Emergency Response Plan governance.

Geomatics Products

The GOC produces geomatics products with information/analysis, which serve to enhance the GOC capabilities in providing strategic coordination and advice or in managing current and upcoming events that have the potential to impact national interests. The GOC’s Geomatics section is an authorized government user of satellite imagery during declared emergencies. It coordinates all RADARSAT requests that deal with national emergency management issues.

Continuous Improvement of Federal Event Response (CIFER)

Federal after-action reports and lessons learned are collected after major events by federal partners, including the GOC, to ensure that best practices are captured and that responses to future events are improved. Currently the GOC is developing a program (CIFER) to track the strategic-level recommendations that emerge from these after-action processes. CIFER is situated within the governance system of the Federal Emergency Response Plan, allowing all federal response partners to work together to achieve continuous improvement. Through a centralized and coordinated approach to improvement, CIFER can more effectively enhance the readiness of the federal government and provide the evidence to support decision making by senior officials.

Event Management

The GOC assesses on average 3,500 incidents a year, which are then triaged for response. In a given year, there can be over 250 numbered events that meet the criteria to issue an alert to Government and trigger a risk assessment, planning and coordinated response. Event teams are stood up as part of the GOC’s preparation and response. In addition, there are about 30 to 40 events that include national security activities, for which the GOC carries out risk assessments and interdepartmental coordination and planning. As a result, the GOC is routinely called upon to manage more than one event simultaneously. Given its structure and capabilities, the GOC can act or is identified as a reduced alternate operations centre for partner departments and agencies, when warranted.

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