OnMAG

Electricity Canada’s Ontario Mutual Assistance Group (OnMAG) is a mutual assistance program designed to provide a more centralized and fulsome Ontario presence for its members.

This includes access to a mutual assistance network and a standard Mutual Assistance Agreement with activation procedures that expedite the coordination process among participating companies from the province’s 60+ utilities. The program was initially launched as a pilot on December 1st, 2020, with the aim of providing a single point-of-contact for utility signatories when requesting personnel or materials through the mutual assistance network. OnMAG now stands as an independent non-profit, subscription based, utility led program directed by a steering committee composed of OnMAG member utilities and administered through Electricity Canada.

During the yearlong pilot phase, three activation drills were held which enabled users' familiarity through real-time experience with the OnMAG system and gave us time to adjust the system to our members' needs. On the weekend of December 11th, 2021, OnMAG was activated for the first time. Electricity Canada successfully facilitated multiple daily coordination calls as utilities were faced with power outages for 400,000+ customers in Southern Ontario due to heavy windstorm.

The coordination helped provide timely updates from both the requesting utility on their needs, and other member utilities on their availability and ability to deploy their crews and resources to the affected areas. More information on the program and membership can be found in the OnMAG Program Information Booklet attached.

Value to Members

  • OnMAG creates a more centralized and fulsome Ontario presence for members, including access to a mutual assistance network and a standard Mutual Assistance Agreement with activation procedures that expedite the coordination process among participating companies from the province’s 60+ utilities.
  • Close geographic proximity of members ensures a speedy response and faster outreach of mutual assistance services across the province, especially during the COVID-19 (and future) pandemic(s) where travel between jurisdictions can be problematic. Moreover, all OnMAG participants operate using the same set of standards, including adherence to the Ontario Electrical Code.
  • As OnMAG has an exclusive focus on Ontario, a more efficient exchange, tracking and documentation of services rendered between matched-up utility companies including salaries and wages, tax policies, workers’ compensation is enabled.
  • Organizations will have more access to a broad range of mutual assistance solutions including crews and equipment depending on the emergency need.
  • Records Management is handled by the Electricity Canada OnMAG coordinator on an annual basis, or as required to ensure all utility contacts are up-to-date and enable circulating any additional contact information during an emergency response as needed. Members have the flexibility to update their contacts at any time using a designated contact form.
  • Quarterly scheduled emergency response exercises are held by OnMAG to ensure sharpness and proper training for members as well as improve internal procedures.
  • Regular OnMAG meetings and communications, enable participants to share storm restoration experiences, lessons learned, new technologies, and networking with counterparts across the province.
  • Each OnMAG activation will be followed by an after-action review call with the key participants after completing an emergency activation to assess the response and identify any practices to sustain as well as potential improvement opportunities.