Canadian Standards Association unveils new emergency management and business continuity standard

Published on October 8, 2008
Poll indicates more than one-third of Canadians expect a disaster will affect their community

Toronto, October 8, 2008 – More than 40 percent of Canadians say the company where they work does not have an emergency plan in place according to a recent study1. CSA, a leading developer of standards and codes, today officially announced a new emergency management and business continuity programs standard, CSA Z1600 which is designed for private and public organizations of all sizes to use if disaster strikes. This new standard is based on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1600 Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs standard.

“A company without an emergency management and business continuity program is like a homeowner without insurance,” says Suzanne Kiraly, president, standards, Canadian Standards Association. "A natural or human-induced disaster can happen anywhere at anytime, and CSA Z1600 can improve the likelihood of organizations keeping their employees safe and their business running if disaster strikes."Canadian Standards Association

Jim Shannon in Toronto

Oct. 8, 2008: Canadian Standards Association (CSA) announces a new emergency management and business continuity programs standard, CSA Z1600, designed for private and public organizations of all sizes. The standard is based on NFPA 1600.

CSA Z1600 outlines the requirements for a comprehensive emergency management program that incorporates a risk-based, all hazards methodology, integrating emergency management and business continuity programs for a total program approach. The comprehensive standard also serves as a benchmark, allowing organizations to evaluate or initiate an emergency management and business continuity program that will work for them.

“It has become increasingly important that public organizations and private businesses of all sizes be prepared for the fullest range of disasters that can strike,” said NFPA President James M. Shannon. “NFPA was extremely proud to build on our longstanding relationship with CSA to support the development of CSA Z1600 which will provide the blueprint for companies throughout the country.”

Traditional emergency programs have focused on preparedness and response. CSA Z1600 is the first Canadian standard that includes both emergency and business continuity planning giving Canadian organizations a framework to manage risks and hazards more proactively.

Many public and private stakeholders have expressed a strong interest in ensuring that emergency management, security systems and standards evolve to be truly North American in scope and application. This demand lead to the adaptation of NFPA 1600, the well regarded U.S standard in this area, which is the foundation for CSA Z1600. Similar to CSA, the U.S.-based NFPA is a non-profit organization that aims to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.

The new standard was also developed in cooperation with Public Safety Canada and other stakeholders including first responders, private sector and non-governmental organizations, emergency management and business continuity specialists, and various levels of government.

A CSA - Leger Marketing survey revealed that working Canadians do not have much confidence in or knowledge of their employer's level of emergency preparedness:

  • Seven in 10 working Canadians say a disaster would affect their ability to do their job.
  • Professional Canadians are the most likely to say that the ability to do their job would be affected if a disaster were to occur in their community (75%), followed by those employed in sales and service (70%).
  • One in six working Canadians do not know if their workplace has an emergency preparedness plan in place (18%).

To better assist stakeholders in understanding and applying the CSA Z1600 standard, CSA’s Learning Centre is offering seminars that will cover the elements required for a comprehensive program as outlined in the new Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs standard. Also included are case studies and exercises to maximize understanding and facilitate application of the standard. Sessions will be held in a variety of locations through the year. To learn more, or obtain a copy of the standard in English or French, visit the CSA Learning Centre online at or the CSA website at or call +1 800-463-6727 for more information.

1 Leger Marketing conducted an online survey among 1,088 working Canadians aged 18+ on their opinions of major disasters in their community. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 3.0%, 19 times out of 20.

About CSA
Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is a membership association serving industry, government, consumers and other interested parties in Canada and the global marketplace. As a leading solutions-based standards organization providing standards and codes development, application products, training and advisory services, CSA aims to enhance public safety, improve quality of life, preserve the environment and facilitate trade. The Canadian Standards Association is a division of CSA Group, which also consists of CSA International, which provides testing and certification services for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, gas and a variety of other products; and OnSpeX, a provider of consumer product evaluation, inspection and advisory services for retailers and manufacturers. For more information visit

Contact: Anthony Toderian, CSA Group, +1 416 747-2620
Contact: Lorraine Carli, NFPA Public Affairs Office, +1 617 984-7275