The Ontario Community Emergency Assistance Program (OCEAP) was developed following many years of research and discussions with central Ontario municipalities on what type of volunteer services would help ensure their emergency plans would be successful. A common theme which emerged was the need for a professional, uniformed and well managed group of volunteers which could step into a variety of roles, depending on the nature of the emergency situation. It was critical to the emergency managers that this volunteer group be self supporting, self managed and not take away critical staff resources from the incident at hand. In other words, during an incident there is little time for the municipality to manage a volunteer contingent. The volunteer group must be able to take direction through the established Incident Management structure, and then manage themselves until such time as they are re-tasked. OCEAP was created to specifically address these requirements.