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Emergency and Crisis Response Plan

The first priority for the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) is the safety, security and well-being of our students and staff. While we hope our schools are never faced with an emergency situation, from time to time an incident can unfold in or near a TCDSB school which might result in a school being put into emergency response procedures.

The procedures outlined on this page have been developed through community consultation and collaboration with the Toronto Police Service. We invite families and all members of our school community to become familiar with these procedures.

Communication with Families

School staff and TCDSB officials follow the direction of the Toronto Police Service during a crisis. To ensure everyone’s safety during a threatening situation or crisis incident, TCDSB does not use Twitter and other social media to communicate information, unless specifically instructed by the Toronto Police Service.

TCDSB encourages staff, students and families not to engage in social media to communicate unconfirmed information while a safety incident is in progress, as it may impede emergency personnel response and/or compromise measures to contain the safety threat.

TCDSB supports schools with school communications based on the situation, including letters issued after the fact, in consultation with the Toronto Police Service.

Threats to School Safety: Emergency Response Procedures

Our emergency response procedures are initiated when a high-risk incident involving weapons, hazardous chemical spill, severe weather warning, student/stranger intrusion, etc occur in the school or on school property, or if there are circumstances in the vicinity of the school that could endanger the lives and/or the safety of students and staff.

While an emergency response procedure is in effect, families are asked to refrain from attending the school.

In order for all students and staff to become familiar with the expectations during a lockdown, each school will practice the lockdown response procedures in the fall and in the spring.


A Lockdown happens when there is danger on the school site.

A Lockdown response is initiated when a major incident or threat of school violence is present within the school or on school premises and the safety of students and staff is threatened.

An example could be the presence of an active attacker in the building or on the school grounds.

Important Information for Families

Do Not Call the School During a Lockdown

Parents and guardians are asked not to call the school during a lockdown. Incoming calls can tie up phone lines and can prevent emergency responders from making important contact with the school.

Do Not Contact Your Child During a Lockdown

Your child may be in a safe place during a lockdown, but by calling or texting your child, a ringing or vibrating phone can reveal their location to the threat-maker and potentially put your child in harm's way.

Hold and Secure

A Hold and Secure response is initiated when the threat is proximate, but not inside the school building. It poses no immediate danger to students or staff unless they leave the building.

An example could be a crime in progress or police searching for an offender in the neighbourhood.

In most cases, the school will be contacted by the Toronto Police Service or other agencies having jurisdiction over the incident.

Shelter in Place

A Shelter in Place response is initiated in Heightened Risk situations. Heightened Risk is defined as an external environmental threat in the area of the school.

An example could include a chemical spill or gas leak in the neighbourhood or extreme weather conditions.

In most instances, the school will be contacted by the Toronto Police Service or other agencies who are responsible for managing the crisis.

Bomb Threat

A Bomb Threat response may be initiated when a report of the presence of a bomb is received or a suspicious package is found.

Refer to our emergency response procedures document for more information.