Thunder Bay

States of emergency declarations in towns across northwestern Ontario amid pandemic

Many communities in northwestern Ontario have declared local states of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Atikokan, Fort Frances, and Marathon.

Atikokan latest municipality to declare state of emergency

The Town of Atikokan in northwestern Ontario declared a state of emergency Tuesday due to public health concerns around the coronavirus. (

Many townships across northwestern Ontario have declared a state of emergency to the province, citing concerns for public health. 

The town of Atikokan is the latest to declare a state of emergency, joining Marathon and Fort Frances which have taken similar steps in the last two weeks. 

The Town of Atikokan Emergency Measures Community Control Group said on Tuesday that the move was deemed necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the community. 

"This declaration is needed to ensure that the town of Atikokan will have necessary resources available during the public health pandemic," reads a statement from the Atikokan Emergency Control Group. 

On March 17,  the Ontario Government declared an emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, allowing for every power and support possible to be used to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

In Thunder Bay, Mayor Bill Mauro said that a state of emergency was being considered by city officials.

"We will be having a municipal Emergency Control Group meeting tomorrow [Thursday] and I already asked for, after that meeting is over, for a few of the key players there to stay and chat with me about this," he said. 

Mauro added that the challenge with making the decision to call a state of emergency is understanding what exactly the declaration would change locally. 

"Really at this point it does not look as if it changes a lot. I think there is confusion in the community because a number of municipalities are doing this,"he said. "I think that the best message it would send would be that if you're in the community and you're not taking this situation seriously right now, we're now declaring an emergency."