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The Ontario government is calling on people 16 years of age and older to join a program that will help the province be better prepared for emergencies including public-health crises and natural disasters.

People are invited to register as volunteers to receive training under a new program called Volunteer Corps Ontario.

The program will make the volunteers available to government ministries, municipalities, First Nations communities and non-profit organizations, so they can help quickly should an emergency arise.

Premier Doug Ford says many people have stepped up and volunteered during the COVID-19 pandemic to help others in their communities.

He says the new program will ensure the province is ready to respond when the next emergency comes and people need to support each other.

More than 3,700 people in Ontario have registered in a COVID-19 volunteer portal launched last December to match volunteers with public-health units and support COVID-19 vaccine deployment.

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