What is ICS Canada

The Incident Command System is a standard on site command and control system used to manage emergency incidents and planned events. ICS Canada is the network of organizations working cooperatively to maintain a standard Incident Command System that enhances incident management response through improved interoperability. The ICS Canada material includes an operational description of the system, a full suite of training materials as well as policy documents that outline processes and responsibilities for managing the material, training, certificates etc.


ICS was first implemented in Canada on a large scale by the Province of British Columbia in the mid 1990s. In 2002 the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, as part of its mandate to its provincial, territorial and federal members, introduced the CIFFC ICS Canadian Version doctrine and complete set of training materials to the wildland fire community across Canada (all provincial, territorial and federal agencies responsible for wildland fire management). A number of non-wildland fire organizations also soon adopted this model and over the ensuing years adoption of the system increased significantly.

In 2009 CIFFC was preparing to update the Canadian wildland fire ICS curriculum. At that time the Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) was also reviewing their need to provide a single all hazard command and control system that would meet their long term provincial emergency management needs. Concurrently, CIFFC was sponsored through Parks Canada to apply for a New Initiatives Fund contribution agreement to provide for a revised ICS and a complete training regime for all Ground Search and Rescue within Canada.

The collaboration of these initiatives into one effort formed the basis for ICS Canada. In conjunction with the aforementioned partners, ICS Canada member agencies also include; Manitoba Office of the Fire Commissioner, Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office, PEI Emergency Measures Organization, Search and Rescue Volunteers Association of Canada, Ground Search and Rescue Council of Canada. There are several other interested jurisdictions and recruitment to the initiative is ongoing.

Steering Committee

In order to maintain standardization, administration and supervision of  ICS Canada doctrine and products, an interjurisdictional  Steering Committee has been struck. The roles of the committee include but are not limited to:

1) Establishing and maintaining standard content and learning objectives for all course material.

2) Reviewing, administering and managing changes to the standard curriculum.

3) Developing instructor qualification criteria and managing processes for instructor approval and recognition.

4) Developing and managing quality assurance policies and processes to ensure reciprocity of certificates.

5) Developing and managing additional training courses and material as required.