Open Letter to the Ombudsman of Ontario Regarding Emergency Alert Error

  • Provincial News

January 12, 2020
Paul Dubé
Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario
483 Bay Street, 10th floor, South Tower
Toronto, ON M5G 2C9


Dear Mr. Dubé,


I am writing to you to request that you conduct a full investigation about the Emergency Alert, and subsequent retraction, issued “in error” this morning by the provincial government regarding the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.


At approximately 7:30AM on Sunday, January 12, 2020, a mass text notification was sent to the mobile phones of residents of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) alerting them that “an incident was reported at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station” that “applies to people within ten (10) kilometres of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.” The Ontario Power Generation (OPG) issued a retraction via Twitter approx. 40 minutes later, however it was nearly 2 hours before a correction message was sent to mobile phones. The office of Ontario Premier Doug Ford also confirmed that the alert was a mistake leaving residents of the region questioning how this could have happened and why the response from the province and relevant authorities was so delayed.


Emergency Management Ontario, an office under the management of the Solicitor General Hon. Sylvia Jones, should fully explain the negligence that allowed this type of situation to occur. This is a public safety matter. Residents must be able to rely on their government to be forthright and responsive when it comes to safety and they do not want the unnecessary panic and angst inflicted upon GTA residents during the time it took for a correction response to be issued. The residents of my riding of Scarborough-Guildwood were directly affected by this alert which caused substantial confusion and concern, particularly when there was so little communication from the OPG or the province for hours afterwards.


I am requesting that you investigate this matter further. We need to restore confidence in GTA residents that matters like this will not be overlooked and their safety is a top priority.

Sincerely,

Mitzie Hunter
MPP Scarborough-Guildwood