Incident Command System (ICS) Canada

The Incident Command System (ICS) is a standardized on-site management system designed to enable effective, efficient incident management by integrating a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure. ICS has three primary purposes:

  • to provide for the orderly and predictable division of labour;
  • to provide for the overall safety at the incident or event; and
  • to ensure that the work at the incident or event is performed efficiently and effectively.

The system has considerable internal flexibility; it can grow or shrink to meet the changing needs of the incident or event. ICS has been tested for nearly 50 years, in emergency and non-emergency situations ranging from small to large incidents, by all levels of government as well as the private sector.

ICS Canada is the governance group responsible for the pan-Canadian management of ICS. The group ensures the continuity, standardization, and interoperability of ICS through the country.

Through ICS Canada, provincial or territorial agencies are referred to as the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). There is only one AHJ per province or territory. Typically, the provincial or territorial government department responsible for Emergency Management is designated as the AHJ.

ICS Alberta committee

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs, as Alberta’s AHJ, delegated the authority to manage and administer the use of ICS to the Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA). In 2012, the AEMA in conjunction with stakeholders formed the ICS Alberta committee (ICS Alberta) to provide strategic direction for the purpose of growing ICS use in the province.

ICS Alberta is notionally responsible to the AEMA Managing Director and membership is open to representatives from any organization in Alberta using and/or providing ICS instruction.

Current membership includes representatives from the following organizations:

  • Alberta Health Services
  • Alberta Health Services – Emergency Medical Services
  • Alberta Transportation
  • Calfrac Well Services
  • Canadian Association of Petroleum Produces
  • Mutual Aid Alberta
  • Alberta Community and Social Services
  • Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
  • RCMP
  • Public Safety Division of Alberta Municipal Affairs
  • Office of the Fire Commissioner
  • City of Edmonton
  • Calgary Emergency Management Agency
  • Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
  • Lakeland College
  • Alberta Fire Chiefs Association
  • Strathcona Emergency Services
  • various ICS instructors

The committee’s work has created practices, policies, and processes that have approved over 250 ICS instructors in Alberta (49% of the ICS Canada certified instructors in the country) and removed barriers, such as access, by developing Canada’s first ICS 100 online course. ICS Alberta has been active in developing ICS instructors across Canada and the United States with instructors teaching ICS Canada materials in Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Argentina, Mexica, and the United States. Requests from Russia have also been received.

ICS Alberta partnered with Alberta Health Services to create an online version of ICS 200 which was launched in 2016. Alberta is only one of two jurisdictions in Canada currently offering ICS 200 online.

ICS Alberta and the AEMA are responsible to ensure the following:

  • establishing and maintaining standard content and learning objectives for all Alberta ICS course material
  • reviewing, administering, and managing changes to the Alberta curriculum
  • developing instructor qualification criteria and managing processes for instructor approval and recognition
  • developing and managing quality assurance policies and processes to ensure reciprocity of certificates
  • developing and managing additional training courses and material as required

Course development

If you are an instructor interested in delivering ICS, a course developer looking to develop ICS training, or an organization looking to deliver or develop internal ICS training for your staff or members, you should contact the AEMA before delivery or development begins at

ICS Basic Organization Chart
(ICS-100 level depicted in image below)

Incident Command System Basic Organization Chart for ICS-100 Level

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