Government invests in information exchange initiative to improve emergency preparedness and response

October 25, 2007

OTTAWA -- Speaking at the 2007 International Pipeline Security Forum, the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, announced that the Government of Canada will invest $150,000 to fund a project that will facilitate the online exchange of information about Canada's critical infrastructure in support of emergency preparedness and response.

"Our government is committed to the safety of Canadians and the security of our energy infrastructure," said Minister Lunn. "The partnership I am announcing today will assist public safety decision makers in planning for and responding to emergencies."

This project involves GeoConnections, Public Safety Canada and five provincial and territorial agencies, as well as private sector partners. Geomatics, the high-tech mapping technology originally developed to manage natural resources, is now also being used to support emergency planning and response in Canada.

Canadians rely heavily on highly connected and interdependent infrastructures such as pipelines, transportation networks and electrical power networks -- critical infrastructures that may be jeopardized by threats and natural disasters. In an emergency, public safety officials and first responders may need to know the location and purpose of critical infrastructures as well as the backups that can be used in these types of situations.

While various types of information about Canada's energy, transportation and water infrastructure are currently held by numerous government agencies and private companies, they are not easily accessed and shared. GeoConnections' Critical Infrastructure Information Identification Project will develop standardized ways to share, merge and map infrastructure data using the Internet, without the need for a centralized database.
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GeoConnections involves a broad network of partners, including the Government of Canada, provincial and territorial governments, private companies, non-government organizations and academia. Additional information about GeoConnections is available at www.geoconnections.org.

Funding for this GeoConnections emergency preparedness project reflects the Government of Canada's commitment to the development of knowledge, innovation and productivity in the natural resource sectors -- giving Canadians the advantage to succeed.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn today announced that the Government of Canada will invest $150,000 to develop standardized ways to share, merge and map infrastructure data online to improve emergency preparedness and response.

Media may contact:

Louise Girouard
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-996-2007

The general public may contact:

Mon-Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. EDT
Telephone: 613-995-0947
TTY: 613-996-4397
(teletype for the hearing-impaired)
E-mail: questions@nrcan.gc.ca

The following media backgrounder is available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media:

Critical Infrastructure Information Identification Project

NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media.

Natural Resources Canada

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