Human error caused false alarm in Pickering, systemic issues also found

False nuclear alert in Ontario a result of human error, systemic issues found

An investigation into an erroneous nuclear warning alert that blasted out to Ontarians cell phones, radios and TVs is complete.

As it routinely does, the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre tests the public alerting system twice daily. As you may recall, on January 12th, one of these test messages at the Pickering plant was sent via the live public alerting system rather than the test system it is supposed to sent out on. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones announced the findings of an investigation into what went wrong and those findings were made public Thursday.

Our government regrets the serious concern many people felt as a result of the alert.

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones


While the investigation found the immediate cause was human error, it also noted several systemic issues that contributed to both the false alert and the delay in issuing a cancellation. report.

Jones again apologized for the alarm. “As I did on January 12th, I unreservedly apologize for the alarm and anxiety caused to people across the province and I want to assure the public that everything possible is being done to prevent a similar event in the future. Emergency Management Ontario has already taken significant corrective action in key areas, including planning, procedures, operations, communications and staff training.”

Picture courtesy