15 June 2023

Community Risk Assessment: Everything You Need To Know

Keeping people safe isn’t always about having the fastest response time. It’s often more about prevention and step on is creating a community risk assessment.

What Is Community Risk Assessment?

CRA is a comprehensive evaluation of your community’s overall risks. It helps to identify and prioritize those risks in order to effectively address them.

No matter the municipality, jurisdiction, or country, a CRA is always recommended. However, if you are in Ontario, it is mandatory, with hefty fines for failing to comply (more on that soon).

Community Risk Assessment In Ontario

Here is a brief overview of the things you need to include and other considerations you’ll need to know if you want to avoid more than a slap on the wrist. 

When To Complete

  1. Municipalities or fire departments must complete a CRA within five years after the day of its previous one.
  2. If a municipality comes into existence with no municipal organization, the municipality, or fire department must complete a CRA within two years.
  3. A municipality that exists on July 1st, 2019, or a fire department in a territory without municipal organization that exists on July 1, 2019, must complete a CRA no later than July 1, 2024.

When To Review

  1. Municipalities or fire departments must review its CRA within 12 months of its previous CRA, including the first one.
  2. They must also review it whenever necessary, including when there has been significant changes to mandatory profiles (see below) or any other significant matters arising from the review.
  3. If you complete a new CRA on or before the 12-month deadline, a review is not required.

Mandatory Profiles

These must be included in your CRA in order for it to be considered complete:

  1. Geographic: Physical features of the community, natural or man-made, like highways, waterways, bridges, etc.
  2. Building Stock: The types of buildings and how many of each are in your community.
  3. Critical Infrastructure: The capabilities and limitations of things like electricity, water, hospitals, airports, etc.
  4. Demographic: Makeup and size of the population, including age, gender, education, etc.
  5. Hazard: Natural, technological, or human-caused.
  6. Public Safety Response: Type of incidents responded to by other entities in the community and their capabilities.
  7. Community Services: Types of services provided by other entities in the community and their capabilities.
  8. Economic: Sectors affecting the community which are critical to financial stability.
  9. Past Loss and Event History: The number and types of emergency responses, injuries, deaths, and dollar losses. This profile also requires a comparison between the community’s fire loss statistics and the provinces.


The Office of the Fire Marshal has been known to show leniency to those making an effort (and that isn’t a guarantee). However, they also hand out fines to those who have not completed their assessments in a timely manner. The first offense will see your municipality hit with a $500,000 fine and if that didn’t spur you into action, the next fine is $1.5 for a second offense.

Learn more about CRA in the Ontario Fire Protection and Prevention Act.

For even more critical information on the subject, you won’t want to miss the latest episode of our podcast: Conquering Chaos & Mayhem!

When you need a Community Risk Assessment done, he’s the first call you’ll make! This episode welcomes Rick Monkman, 40 year veteran of the emergency services and leading expert in CRA. “Municipalities never think about the 100-year storm. It’s once in a lifetime. Something’s going to give and there’s going to be a lot of damage.”

This episode should be required listening for anyone developing, or trying to implement a Community Risk Assessment. 

We know you’ll enjoy it.