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Emergency Social Services (ESS)

ESS helps people who have been impacted by a major emergency or a disaster. ESS personnel are there to support people that have been uprooted from their homes and face a great deal of uncertainty, often not knowing if they will have a home to return to. ESS provides services to evacuees at a challenging time. It is imperative that as communities we respond with compassion and support to meet people’s physical and emotional needs. How a community responds is what people remember when they look back on the event. It’s why ESS plays such a vital role as part of an emergency.

Target Audience:

  • Community staff responsible for the Emergency Social Services program in their community.
  • Municipal, First Nation and Provincial Emergency Management Personnel

This course includes an online training component, a series of supporting videos, and other resources.

Time to complete: 6-8 hours.

To Enrol

Information on how to enrol in our training can be found here.

Final Exam

There is no exam associated with this training.


Participants who complete all components of the online training will be able to print a certificate from their transcript in the Contact Learning Management System.


If you are having problems registering for the course or exam, please send an email to Please note that emails will be addressed within 5 business days.

Emergency Social Services (Basic) Public Health Agency of Canada

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The Emergency Social Services Basic course was created by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC), Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response (CEPR) in collaboration with the Council of Emergency Social Services Directors.

The content of the course was developed by a working group involving the Council of Health Emergency Management Directors, the Council of Emergency Social Services Directors, the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and various federal, provincial and territorial government departments.


Recommended for people who support their communities through Emergency Social Services (ESS).

Course Objective

The course provides an introduction to emergencies and the essential role that ESS programs play in the response and recovery of a community during times of disaster. Participants will learn:

  • Basic Emergency Management principles as they relate to ESS;
  • ESS and its place in the Emergency Management Cycle;
  • 6 Primary Emergency Social Services and how ESS may be delivered;
  • Roles and responsibilities of people who are involved in planning for and delivering emergency social services; and
  • Possible impacts of a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) or highly infectious disease outbreak on the ESS.


E-learning, self-study, Internet-based

Course Availability

Register online

  • Date modified: 2018-04-06