Your Connection to Canada’s Volunteering Community

Frequently Asked Questions

What is service continuity planning?

A service continuity plan allows organizations to maintain their critical services in the event of a crisis. Organizations should prioritize their services and develop strategies to deal with emergencies. It’s best to plan these strategies in advance, not under the stress of a disaster.

What organizations need service continuity plans?

All organizations need a plan in place to deal with disasters. Disasters affect all organizations and everyone needs to be prepared. Your plan may be to maintain only a part of your services or to shut down services during an emergency while at the same time contributing to a community response.

Developing a plan will help identify what is most important to your organization. Whatever your plan involves, it is vital that everyone is ready for crisis.

Why is service continuity planning important?

Voluntary organizations are a lifeline for thousands of high-risk populations. In the event of an emergency, clients will look to you for assistance. It’s essential that you’re able to provide services even in times of crisis.

A good service continuity plan will ensure that you are ready for all types of emergencies so you can focus on the needs of your clients.

What kind of disasters will service continuity protect me from?

There is no way to anticipate every type of disaster, but a robust plan will help you deal with most types of disasters.

We encourage organizations to think of a health emergency scenario when coming up with a plan. Health emergencies are among the most complex disasters. Considering such an emergency will help you deal with difficult questions and create a solid plan. It’s important to remember that your plan must be updated as your organization changes and grows.

Do I need a different plan for each type of disaster?

Not necessarily, as different disasters may affect your organization in similar ways. But we encourage you to first analyze different types of disasters separately to make sure your plan is complete.

How often do I need to update my plan?

A good practice is to update your plan once a year. Your plan should be a living document and you should update it as needed, particularly when there is an organizational change, such as a change in personnel, services or clients.

Does a good service continuity plan cost a lot of money?

Service continuity planning does take some time, money and effort. But the commitment of your organization is the most important part of any plan.

It’s important to be realistic about what you can accomplish in a given period of time and also to use the resources you have available to you to develop a plan.

What does community resiliency mean?

Community resiliency refers to the ability of a community to work together and support one another in times of crisis. A resilient community can adapt to difficult situations by recognizing their strengths and using them in times of emergency. Keep in mind that every community is unique; there are many ways to build resilience.

How can I foster resilience in my community?

The Centre for Voluntary Sector Research and Development at Carleton University has developed a Community Resiliency Handbook to help communities and organizations build their strength.

The handbook is easy to use, offering a five-step approach to building resilience in your community. Remember, this process will look different in every community; there is no one correct way to build resiliency.

How should I use the Community Resiliency Activity Book?

The ideas, resources and activities presented in this book are meant to be flexible; they are yours to adapt to fit the characteristics of your community. All of the activities are versatile enough that they can be used in many settings. You can use the activities within a single organization, with a group of organizations or in a multi-sector context.

Why is community resiliency important?

Strong communities are vital to disaster response. Research shows that communities with plans in place are better able to deal with a disaster and recover more quickly. Voluntary organizations are critical to this community-building process.

Disasters don’t affect us all equally. Vulnerable people are hit harder than the rest of the community. Voluntary organizations are critical in ensuring the health and safety of these groups in a health crisis or disaster.