Quality and Productivity Database

Descriptive Title of Proposal: Emergency Management and Business Continuity as an Institution Priority
Year Submitted 2016
Person(s) Responsible for the Idea
Name Title
Rae Ann Aldridge A VP Risk and the Emergency Management Department
Name of Institution University of Calgary
Office Address A100 2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
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Telephone: 403-220-3762
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.
Name (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Linda Dalgetty
Title (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution) Vice-President, Finance and Services
Office Address A100, 2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
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Telephone: 403-220-6210
Email Address: Email hidden; Javascript is required.

This project was undertaken as a result of a January 2013 review of the emergency response plans (ERP) and business continuity plans (BCP) on file which revealed that Jess than 25% of required departments had Emergency Response Plans and less that 5% had Business Continuity Plans. In addition an audit by the Internal Audit department in June 2013 also recommended the completion of the departmental ERP's and BCP's.

The University had an existing Master Emergency Response Plan which was dated and did not accurately capture the way the University planned for, responded to and recovered from emergencies and major business interruptions. Additionally, there were gaps between the ERP/BCP's, Master ERP and the University Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Program.

A major project was undertaken to not only address the efficiencies, but form a new Emergency Management Program incorporating Emergency Response & Business Continuity Management best practices. Five Guiding Principles for the project were followed to ensure the success of this ambitious project:

1. Develop a full suite of plans and procedures for emergency and business continuity, ensuring they are integrated and coordinated.

2. Link emergency management and business continuity program to enterprise risk management and the University's strategic objectives.

3. Identify and support the needs of executives, senior management and engage the campus community demonstrates the value proposition.

4. "Size to Fit" - Apply best practices, but tailor the program and approach to fit the structure, culture and budget of the University

5. Ensure the program includes a sustainment and continuous improvement component.

Criteria Please submit one paragraph describing how the proposal fulfills each of the evaluation criteria.

Most if not all institutions face the same issues and struggle with one or more facets of Emergency Management:

• Many organizations and institutions have sound basic emergency response procedures, but lack other plans and overall programs are dis-jointed and sometimes ineffective

• Gaps between BCM/ER or EM programs and enterprise goals

• BCM and EM practitioners struggle to get senior management and/or middle management support

• Business Continuity and Emergency Management is not adequately leveraged within organisations

As a result of the success of this project, the U of C has had interest from, and demonstrated to, other PSI peers in EM, BC, RMI & EHS to help their EM efforts.

The concepts used for the completion of the project are transferable as the keys to the success were collaboration, executive support, expert coaching at the workshops and standardization of the tools.

Four major aspects of the project can be easily transferable to other institutions.

1. The standardization of templates and documents

a. The master spreadsheet to capture the vital building information

b. The template for the building specific response plan

c. The building ER placement for occupants

d. The ERP/BCP workbook

2. The Workshop approach for completion of the ERP's/BCP's. This format ensured that we had the right people engaged in the workshop, that we had a working copy of the work book before they left the workshop, and that guidance and direction was provided by the Facilitator.

3. The method of tracking to completion and ensuring the successful program sustainment efforts. Knowing we have captured all departments in the planning process by using the department account codes.

4. The creation of an Emergency Management SharePoint site. This solution provides: Secure Access from anywhere, notification capability, one source of truth, version control, groups & permissions, resources & training, online approvals

Quality Impact

The outcomes of this project were extremely favourable in that we could identify a Business Continuity Plan or combined Emergency Response/Business Continuity Plan for all department account codes. Housing this information on the Emergency Management Sharepoint site allows for version control and sign off at a Dean level.

Since the completion of this project we have seen the activation of the BCP's on a number of occasions including power outages, building floods and sewer backups. Each BCP activation has resulted in favorable feedback from the affected departments that were able to implement the plans minimizing downtime and negative impact.

The plans have also resulted in a more coordinated response to emergencies and/or business interruptions, greatly assisting the efforts of the EM department, First Responders, the Emergency Operations Group and the Crisis Management Team.

The Emergency Management department continues to tabletop these plans with the departments, fine tuning and updating them. The program is evergreen and never "done".

Productivity Impact

It is not easy to quantify the cost reductions of have a plan in place for Emergency Response and Business Continuity but if can be safely assumed that being prepared and practicing the response will ensure that the down time is minimized.

Operationally, the value of the program and plans has resulted in minimized impact from emergencies and business interruptions, filled the audit gaps and supported the ERM institutional risk efforts.

In the end, we can quantitatively say that all 417 departments are captured in either a BCP or a combined ER/BCP and in some cases for smaller departments they were able to be combined for a total of: 250 BCP + 84 ER/BCP = 334 plans


The approach and execution of the project was particularly innovative by following the five guiding principles:

1. Develop a full program and ensure it is integrated and coordinated.

• Created Emergency Management (EM) as its own Department reporting directly to AVP Risk

• Emergency Management Program - Emergency Preparedness, Response & Business Continuity

• Created a new position within the Emergency Operations Group (EOG): Business Continuity Coordinator

• Completed 50 half day workshops guiding individual departments through ER/BCP (84) or BCP only (250) for a total of 334 plans covering 417 Departments in addition to a "rolled up" document for Deans/AVP/Vice Provost

• Collected Vital Building Information, created VBI initial response sheets for Fire Plan Box for each building

• EM SharePoint site as source point for all documentation, ER & BC operations

• Project completed in 9 months- very short time frame for the scope of work

2. Link the Program

• Linked it to the Institutional Risk Registry:

o Workshop by Executive Leadership, identified Institutional risks, voted on ranking (Likelihood & Impact)

o Health, Safety & Security, Infrastructure is identified in top 4 Risks ... Departmental ERP's & BCP's identified as key mitigation strategy

3. Identify and support the needs of executives, senior management and engage the campus community demonstrate the value proposition.

• Protect personnel

• Protect assets

• Minimize financial losses

• Protect and improve reputation

• Enhanced client experience

• Maintain stakeholder obligations

This was achieved by supporting:

• The U of C Eyes High vision & Strategy- By our 50th anniversary in 2016, we will be one of Canada's top five research universities, fully engaging the communities we both serve and lead

o Academic & Research Plan

o Board Committee reporting

o Support from Executive Leadership Team- recognized a robust EM Program is vital to mitigating against the risk of not achieving the Universities goals, impacting reputation, financial (donors)

4. Customize "Size to Fit"

• ½ day workshops: reasonable/maximum time we had to get the right people from each department to sit down and populate their plans· 85-90% complete by the time they walk out

• Reverse Engineered Business Impact Analysis (BIA)

• Timing! "lucked out" with the 2013 flood, experience to draw from & highlighted importance

• Developed our own template that works for a Post-Secondary Institution

• How do you know when you are done? Follow the money! We tracked to Department ID from HR/Finance data

• Knew we would only get one kick at it

5. Ensure that your program includes a sustainment and continuous improvement component Sustainment as part of EM Program and Policy- never "done"

• Tabletop exercises of the developed plans, refinement from learnings

• Review & updating annually at minimum or when processes and personnel change· evergreen

• Board Committee reporting

• SharePoint to initiate workflow for review and approval of plans

This project and the resulting deliverables were built from the ground up engaging all departments and stakeholders directly, rather than the usual top down approach. This resulted in a complete program that is accepted, implemented and sustainable .. .it is not a "paper" program, rather it is one that works.