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Disaster risk profile warns Canada ill-prepared for a major earthquake

OTTAWA — The first draft of a new national disaster risk assessment report warns that a major earthquake in British Columbia or parts of Ontario and Quebec could swiftly become the most costly natural disaster Canada has seen.

It says there are major gaps in Canada’s earthquake response plans, including limited information on the risks and how to prepare for them.

The national risk profile published this morning is the government’s first attempt to identify the biggest threats Canada faces from natural disasters and to find ways to limit the possible damage.

It deals with floods, forest fires and earthquakes, while the second version now being researched is expected to focus on extreme heat and hurricanes.

While most earthquakes in Canada are minor, there is a risk of major earthquakes in the seismic zones in B.C. and the corridor affecting Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.

The report warns a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in British Columbia could result in $75 billion in losses, and in the Quebec seismic corridor a major quake could cause $61 billion in losses.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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