Earthquake in Canada:
The Risk Realities

Canada is not prepared for a major quake, new study warns

A new scientific study on the impacts of a major earthquake leaves no doubt that Canadians and the country as a whole are not prepared to handle a major earthquake, which could happen at any time.

The photo simulation (above) depicts damage to a bridge just east of Quebec City that, according to the study, could be expected as a result of a 7.1-magnitude quake in the region.

The study, commissioned by Insurance Bureau of Canada, estimates costs as a result of a large quake in the Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa corridor at almost $61 billion. The study also models a 9.0-magnitude quake in British Columbia; in that scenario, overall costs are estimated at almost $75 billion.

The study quantifies the amount of damage we can expect and demonstrates that a major quake would have a significant economic impact regionally as well as a domino effect on the entire Canadian economy.

The first major Canadian research of its kind in 20 years, the study was commissioned by IBC and conducted by AIR Worldwide, global experts in catastrophe modeling. The study is a peer-reviewed analysis of the impact of two major seismic events in:

  • British Columbia 
  • Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa corridor

Although the two seismic zones studied cover only a small fraction of Canada’s area, 40% of Canadians live within them.

The findings will help raise awareness and will serve as a valuable tool for governments, regulators, disaster preparedness organizations, the banking community, the insurance industry, and the public in planning for, and mitigating the risk of earthquakes in Canada.

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