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Canad Inns Destination Centre Polo Park 1405 St Matthews Ave, Winnipeg, Manitoba



Access to plenary speakers

Access to breakout sessions

Access to workshops

Three catered lunches

Four catered refreshment breaks

One ticket to Pizza and Pasta Dinner

(Extra tickets can be purchased at Registration Desk)

Door Prizes

One ticket to Gala Dinner and Entertainment

(Extra tickets can be purchased at Registration Desk)



Fees above are the costs per delegate (must be paid in Canadian funds).
Once registration opens, please complete the registration form, and note that payment must accompany registration form (paid registrations must be received by September 27, 2024)


Payment must be attached to the registration form in order to be processed. You will not be fully registered until payment is received.

Please note that we will not invoice under any circumstance – if your organization requires an invoice in order to process the payment, use the completed registration form as your invoice.

The conference makes every effort to provide a healthy, appealing menu for all meal functions. If you have any dietary restrictions, please notify the Registrar upon registering; if you do not advise us ahead of time, we cannot guarantee that the hotel will be able to accommodate your last minute request.

Please ensure you select your session preferences as the sessions are listed on delegates’ name tags. If sessions are full, priority will be given to delegates who signed up for that session – all delegates not signed up for that session will be asked to leave and attend another session.

You will be issued a written confirmation of your paid registration. This confirmation is your receipt.


Delegates must present themselves at the Registration Desk in order to receive their registration packages. Registration packages will be released only to the individual whose name appears on the badge (in the event that the registered delegate is unable to attend, a substitute may be made and a new nametag will be issued by the Registrar at the Registration Desk).

Registered delegates, speakers and sponsors must wear their name tags for access to all conference functions.


BY CREDIT CARD: All credit card payments must be made online through the link above, paying through PayPal (you can sign up as guest if you do not have a PayPal account).

BY CASH: Payments in cash must be made in person.

BY CHEQUE: Make cheque payable in Canadian funds to “Disaster Management Conference”. Mail form and payment to:
Manitoba Disaster Management Conference

PO Box 70044 Kenaston PO
Winnipeg MB R3P 0X6


If you have any questions or concerns regarding the registration process, please contact the Registrar, Amber Barrett, at:


Cancellations must be requested in writing to prior to September 27, 2024, and will each be subject to a $50 administration fee. No refunds will be given after this deadline (no exceptions).

Substitutions may be made at any time without penalty. Please notify the Registrar of the substitution as soon as possible.


Agenda details coming soon!


For offline viewing, download brochure here.

10:30 am – 10:45 am
10:45 am – 12:00 pm
Leadership in the Aftermath of a Mass Casualty

Christine Blair, Mayor of the Municipality of the County of Colchester, Nova Scotia

Serena Lewis, a master’s level social worker & consultant, Colchester County, Nova Scotia

On April 18 & 19, 2020, a series of rural Nova Scotia communities were shaken by the events of Canada’s largest intended mass shooting. Families, neighbours and communities lives forever changed by the violent acts of one man. Impersonating the RCMP, including the use of a replica police car, Gabriel Wortman’s rampage left 22 people, and one unborn child dead. Those thirteen hours have left a widespread magnitude of trauma and grief; the pain further exacerbated by the Mass Casualty Commission, seeking answers and history that are complex. Christine Blair, Mayor of the Municipality of the County of Colchester, and Serena Lewis, MSW social worker-employed at the time as the Grief and Bereavement Lead for the widespread region, and now as a consultant who lives in Colchester County. These leaders will share their stories about the event, the impact on the community and the lingering aftermath.

12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Breakout Sessions B

B1: Everything You Need to Know about an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC)

Patricia Martel, PhD, CEM, ABCP, Emergency Management Program Specialist, Niagara Region, Ontario

EOCs are the place where decisions are made during an emergency; this room works with the emergency site and with the elected official. This session will discuss everything you need to know to understand and work in an EOC in an emergency event.

B2: Federal Resource Options for Disaster Response – Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Planning Considerations

Major Nate Malazdrewicz, Department of National Defence

Nicholas Verleun, Department of National Defence

This presentation will bring an individual from zero knowledge of the military to a point where they can have a basic understanding of when the military could be appropriate for use in Canada, what the limitations are and when it’s not appropriate.

You will become more familiar with the role, structure and standard operating procedures of the CAF. Specifically with a view to enable decision making at the provincial and municipal level on engagement before, during and after a situation where the CAF is required to support local government.

Examples of recent domestic operations will be used to guide discussion and highlight lessons learned, such as Covid, and wildfires in 2021 and 2022.

B3: Extreme Risk: Our Growing Exposure to Climate Change

Danny Blair, University of Winnipeg (Prairie Climate Centre)

People across the world are becoming increasingly aware that climate change is a reality that cannot be ignored and that it is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather. These events have resulted in many fatalities, massive damage to infrastructure, enormous economic and social disruption, and high levels of anxiety.

Even though many of us now understand that we need to reduce our climate-changing emissions, there is much more climate change ahead of us. Therefore, collectively, and individually, in Manitoba and beyond, we need to take a good hard look at our exposure to climate-related disasters and prepare for what should be considered inevitable. Easy to say; hard to do. Let’s talk about that.

B4: Media and Emergencies – Media Needs and How to Prepare Your Community

Jill Machyshon, Winnipeg Bureau Chief for CTV National News

Paul Samyn, Editor of Winnipeg Free Press

Floods, wildfires, large derailments, evacuations, protests and anything that may impact your community will likely attract local and national media, and possibly international media attention. Media coverage is inevitable and can help communities communicate urgency and needs to citizens and general audiences.

Community leadership needs to be prepared for emergencies and disasters, taking the all-hazards approach. They should also have a media plan or level of awareness to facilitate questions. Generally, the larger the catastrophe the greater the media interest will be.

CTV National News Bureau Chief Jill Macyshon and Paul Samyn of the Winnipeg Free Press will present the media perspective in an emergency.

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Cyber Threats and Your Community – the National Cyber Threat Assessment 2023-2024

Greg Simmonds, Director Incident Management and Operational Coordination 

This presentation will provide an overview of current and evolving cyber threats faced by Canadians and focuses on the five cyber threats that are the most dynamic, impactful, which will continue to drive cyber threat activity over the next two years. The presentation will also include an overview of the current Cyber Threat Landscape, and misinformation and how it affects Canadians. The presentation will highlight some Cyber security advices to mitigate some of these threats and how the Federal Government works together to respond to Cyber incidents. 

5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Casual Dinner* (ticket provided)

Delegates are encouraged to socialize and share experiences from their communities or workplace.

*(please note adults only; no children allowed) 

8:30 am – 8:45 Am
Announcements & Conference Updates
8:45 am – 12:00 pm
Workshop Sessions W (with Break from 10:00 am – 10:20 am)

W1: Manitoba’s Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) & the Mitigation and Preparedness Program (MPP)

Robert Belton, Recovery & Mitigation Specialist, Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization

Stephanie Woltman, A/Manager of Mitigation, Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization

Disasters are a growing threat to the safety and economic viability of Manitoba communities as events become more common and increase in intensity, including this past year, which marked the second wettest spring in recorded history in Manitoba and the wettest spring in a century. This presentation will explore how Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization’s (EMO) DFA program supports communities with recovering from an event. The presentation will also provide an update on the federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) review and the connections between DFA and the evolving insurance landscape. Manitoba EMO will also present on the MPP, which is an innovative initiative, offered to municipalities to build local resiliency against natural disasters, extreme weather events and the impacts of climate change.

W2: Leadership in an Emergency Event – Know Your Role Before it Happens

Cheryl Christian, former Mayor of Rural Municipality of West St. Paul

Shelley Napier, Napier Emergency Consulting

As elected officials, it is critical that you understand your role during an emergency. The direction and tone for the emergency response will be set by leadership and government of each municipality and First Nation. What is expected of you? How do you work with the Emergency Coordinator and the Incident Commander and their teams? What is expected of the Chief Administrative Officer, and how do you all work together to help coordinate the response effort during the emergency event?

W3: The Relief within Grief: Why Grief Centred, Trauma Sensitive Approaches are Critical in the Aftermath of Disasters

Serena Lewis, a master’s level social worker & consultant, Colchester County, Nova Scotia

In one sentence, ‘Grief and Resilience live together,’ written by Michelle Obama, we recognize a need for progressive change. Grief is at the centre of all disaster management; be it homes, community identity, jobs, structures, as well as lives. We recognize that within disaster management, our leadership roles are always relational. Yet for many, we are uncomfortable in our grief literacy and trauma sensitivity. When death, and other losses, are sudden and unexpected, support systems are thrust into a grief trajectory in an abrupt way. The swallowed cries of mourners become deafening- as we consider bereaved families, workplaces, communities – and front-line workers who can be impacted by cumulative loss and moral distress. Imposing language of resiliency oftentimes further silences mourners, and front line workers. While seeking the growth and positive glimmers, we diminish and avoid the deep levels of pain.

This workshop will:
• Support a deeper understanding of grief and trauma being core to leadership
• Expand upon grief literacy, trauma sensitivity- strengthening our responses to others
• Explore a macro-meso and micro level approach to integrating grief into all aspects of our disaster management approach
• Recognize that grief and trauma informed practices are pro-active mental health actions
• Summarize the importance of self-compassion in this process.

W4: Key Elements You Need to Set Up a Reception Centre

Gabriel Peters, Provincial Manager of Emergency Management in Manitoba and Nunavut for the Canadian Red Cross

Michelle Ford, Senior Advisor of operational readiness and planning for Manitoba and Nunavut with the Canadian Red Cross

Ellie Cansfield, Canadian Red Cross volunteer Support to Evacuation and Repatriation Team

Emergencies often require evacuations. This presentation will share Canadian Red Cross expertise on the foundations, considerations, and requirements for operating reception centres. This includes sections on selection, set-up, layouts, material requirements, human requirements, tasks, communications, and functional areas such as registration and supply management desks. This presentation will provide context for the tabletop exercise.

This scenario-based table-top discussion will help you develop common understanding, apply knowledge and skills, validate plans and procedures, and clarify roles and responsibilities. Learn from a structured series of questions to guide the discussion and group analysis. This will include a breakout session. Group discussions will focus on a specific hazards or incident scenarios to explore dilemmas within the larger context of reception centres.

12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Lunch & Exhibitor Visits
1:15 pm – 2:30 pm
Turning Anguish into Advocacy – A Father’s Journey to Make Schools Safer After the Parkland School Shooting

Max Schachter, Founder & Executive Director of the Safe Schools for Alex

The focus of the content will include: what happened, vulnerabilities uncovered, what we learned, and key ways to prevent.

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Exhibitor Break
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Breakout Sessions C

C1: Understanding Local, Provincial and Federal Emergencies

Jack Lindsay, Chair of Applied Disaster & Emergency Studies, Brandon University

In Canada, the legal power for elected governments, at all three jurisdictional levels, to take extraordinary action during a crisis is provided by both provincial and federal legislation. The past few years have seen various state of emergency declarations at the local, provincial, and, for the first time ever, national level. This session will explore the relationship between the levels of government during a declared emergency, explain their differences and why those variations exist, then speculate on how Manitoba’s Emergency Measures Act and related regulations could evolve in the future.

C2: Building Climate Change Resilience into Your Emergency Program

Patricia Martel, PhD, CEM, ABCP, Emergency Management Program Specialist, Niagara Region, Ontario

Climate change is changing the way we look at our emergency plans and programs. In order to be able to handle the changes in our weather patterns and the chaos they bring to our community, we need to ensure our plans and programs are reflective of these changing times.


C3: As the Province of Manitoba Emerges from the Pandemic

Monika Warren, Chief Operating Officer for Provincial Health Services, Chief Nursing Officer, Shared Health

Lee Heinrichs, Interim Provincial Lead, Health system integration and clinical planning, Shared Health

Emergency situations such as the pandemic really pushed our health system, leadership and staff beyond what any of us thought possible. Monika will share the Manitoba experience as the provincial Operations Chief in addressing COVID response and what we learned about being a more provincially integrated system. These experiences have forever changed how we think and plan for future healthcare services such as care closer to home. Lee Heinrichs will share how our learnings from the pandemic influence the planning for Manitoba’s future Clinical and Preventative services.


C4: Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT): Preparedness, Response, and Recovery all in One

Grant Durfey, Emergency Management Program Specialist, Niagara Region

Mitigation, Preparedness, and Response are essential concepts for communities of all sizes. These can present daunting challenges to Emergency Management programs, often dealing with very limited resources. One of the most effective ways to address all of these concepts is through CERT: Preparedness, Response, and Recovery all in One.

Grant Durfey, an Emergency Management Program Specialist for the Niagara Region, will explain the CERT system of organizing and deploying a trained volunteer pool in the event of a disaster while simultaneously improving overall Community Resiliency.

6:00 pm
6:30 pm
GALA Dinner (business casual) and Door Prizes (ticket provided)
*(please note adults only; no children allowed) 
8:15 pm
Special Entertainment*– Comedian Derek Edwards
8:45 am – 9:00 am
Announcements & Conference Updates
9:00 am – 10:15 am
Insurrection – Yes, it Happened in Manitoba

Inspector Gord Spado, Special Events Commander, Winnipeg Police Services

2022 started with the sound of horns and protests over pandemic provisions put in place by federal and provincial governments. February saw demonstrators block the Emerson border crossing, an integral transportation hub for billions of dollars in trade annually between Manitoba and the U.S. At the same time, noisy protestors occupied a section of Winnipeg around the Manitoba’s legislative building. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau enacted the federal Emergencies Act for the first time in Canadian history, giving the federal government more powers to handle the protests.

Inspector Gord Spado will discuss actions, reactions and peaceful resolutions around the pandemic protests.

10:15 am – 10:45 am
Exhibitor Break
10:45 am – 12:00 pm
Is the Incident Command System (ICS) Failing Emergency Managers and Our Profession?

Jay Shaw, Assistant Chief of Emergency Management and Public Information with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service

From small local crisis events to catastrophic disasters with enormous devastation, the ICS system has been the go to staple as a management tool to help emergency management professionals weather the storm. With incident complexity growing at an alarming pace, are we seeing cracks in the foundation of this system? From Hurricane Katrina to deadly heat waves, large wild land fires and a global pandemic, our history of disasters have shown a decrease in our command systems capability to manage by objective. With all disasters starting and ending with a local focus, does this system meet the needs for our smaller local incidents that still require a system to coordinate and collaborate an effective response? This session will look at the history and recent challenges of both small and large disasters. We will explore new methods of leading through chaos, enhancing our ability to reduce cognitive biases in our operations, chop holes in our communication silos and lead effective responses that meet the mission stated goals.

12:00 – 1:00 pm
1:00 pm – 2:15 pm
Emergency Management in Manitoba – A Year and a Half in Review

Johanu Botha, PhD, Assistant Deputy Minister, Manitoba Emergency Management Division

This session delivers a retrospective of recent emergencies and the changes to the emergency management landscape both in Manitoba and across Canada.

2:15 pm – 2:45 pm
Conference Wrap-Up & Evaluation

Canad Inns Destination Centre Polo Park
1405 St. Matthews
Winnipeg, MB
Hotel Direct Phone: 204-775-8791
Central Reservations Phone: 1-888-332-2623

A block of standard guestrooms (single or double occupancy) have been set aside at a special rate of $134 (plus applicable taxes) for the Disaster Management Conference 2024. To obtain this special rate, you must provide them with the group rate #203318 at the time of booking.

Please note the room block will be held until September 13, 2024; the Canad Inns Destination Centre Polo Park will still accept reservations after September 13, 2024 at the special rate, but it will be subject to guest room availability at the time of booking.

Reserve your rooms early as the hotel has fully booked in past conferences! In the event that Canad Inns Destination Centre Polo Park gets fully booked, the onus will be on you to find an alternate hotel.

If you’re visiting, we would like to welcome you to Winnipeg and encourage you to take the time to enjoy all our city has to offer.  For places to eat, visit and shop, check out Tourism Winnipeg.

You will find free and ample parking at Canad Inns Destination Centre Polo Park.