May 28, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - A national strategy and action plan on critical infrastructure is another important step toward making the province more secure, Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General John W. Foran said today.
The strategy, launched today by Public Safety Canada, provides a framework for governments and the owners and operators of critical infrastructure (CI) to work together to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disruptions as a result of natural or intentional crisis events. It identifies a clear set of goals and objectives, and outlines a framework for intergovernmental co-operation.
"Safeguarding our critical infrastructure, such as energy, food, transportation and information and communications technology, is essential in order to help maintain New Brunswick as a safe and secure place to live, work and do business," Foran said. "I welcome this national strategy, and am pleased to see that a number of the suggested initiatives are either being established or are already in place here in New Brunswick."
The New Brunswick Critical Infrastructure Protection Program was established in 2001 as part of the Department of Public Safety. The program works with the owners and operators of critical infrastructure to ensure they have emergency, security and business continuity plans in place to ensure their services remain available during emergencies.
This planning proved effective in 2009 during the H1N1 pandemic. The Department of Public Safety established networks in four key sectors: energy; transportation; information communication and technology; and food and food distribution. Regular meetings with owners/operators and provincial officials helped improve business continuity and emergency plans.
During the pandemic, the sectoral networks helped the provincial government and owners/operators to align their efforts and make sure information flowed quickly and effectively. New Brunswick was recognized in independent reviews for this joint public and private sector effort.
"The Critical Infrastructure Protection Program is an outstanding example of how the public and private sector can work together to respond in a co-ordinated and effective way to crisis situations," said Jeanne Cruikshank, vice-president (Atlantic) of the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors. "By bringing all players to the table, this model of collaboration and timely communication has established a strong framework for continued multi-sector co-operation benefiting all Atlantic Canadians."
The program also conducts exercises involving different sectors, and developed linkages with Maine in a project led by the Conference Board of Canada and supported by the United States Department of Homeland Security.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Lisa Harrity, communications, Department of Public Safety, 506-444-3425; Jeanne Cruikshank, Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, 902-422-7279.