National Exercise Program

National CD Exercises

1. The program of conducting national civil emergency measures exercises was in a dormant state following the last TOCSIN exercise in 1966. There were, of course, periodic NATO exercises but Canada EMO’s participation was peripheral to the success of these tests. 

2. Canada EMO’s failure to continue the series of exercises was paticularly disconcerting since it was the agency’s responsibility to update and assist all war plans and preparations. Undoubtedly the best method of accomplishing this task was through actual testing. The need for all exercise was all the more pressing since in the eight years following 1966 many changes had occurred in concepts, policy government organization and in attitudes as to how a crisis should be handled. 

3. The exercise program was delegated to a low priority status for diverse reasons. In the 1970s Canada EMO suffered from an acute shortage of funds and staff. Consequently the annual NATO exercises diverted time and energy that normally would have been devoted to national exercises. Some provincial governments were also more concerned with peacetime preparations than with wartime exercises. Understandably some federal departments felt that a national civil emergency exercise was, in the era of deténte, a secondary consideration. Thus problems did arise in obtaining all-departmental co-operation.

4. Realizing the necessity of conducting a national exercise, Canada EMO finally overcame these difficulties and scheduled an exercise for 1974. The exercise was to be on a national emergency setting and was designed to evaluate civil emergency measures at the federal and provincial levels. However, due to the imminent restructuring of the organization the exercise was canceled. Many years were to pass before they were resumed.