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TitlePhysical exposure to natural hazards in Canada
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorJourneay, M; LeSueur, PORCID logo; Chow, W; Wagner, C L
SourceGeological Survey of Canada, Open File 8892, 2022, 95 pages, Open Access logo Open Access
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Documentopen file
Mediadigital; on-line
File formatreadme
File formatpdf; rtf; xlsx (Microsoft® Excel®); gpkg (ESRI® ArcExplorer(TM) / ArcReader(TM))
ProvinceCanada; British Columbia; Alberta; Saskatchewan; Manitoba; Ontario; Quebec; New Brunswick; Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island; Newfoundland and Labrador; Northwest Territories; Yukon; Nunavut
NTS1; 2; 3; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28; 29; 30; 31; 32; 33; 34; 35; 36; 37; 38; 39; 40; 41; 42; 43; 44; 45; 46; 47; 48; 49; 52; 53; 54; 55; 56; 57; 58; 59; 62; 63; 64; 65; 66; 67; 68; 69; 72; 73; 74; 75; 76; 77; 78; 79; 82; 83; 84; 85; 86; 87; 88; 89; 92; 93; 94; 95; 96; 97; 98; 99; 102; 103; 104; 105; 106; 107; 114O; 114P; 115; 116; 117; 120; 340; 560
Lat/Long WENS-141.0000 -50.0000 90.0000 41.7500
SubjectsHealth and Safety; Science and Technology; Nature and Environment; Economics and Industry; models; modelling; earthquakes; floods; tsunami; landslides; CanEM Model; International Sustainable Development Goals; Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction; United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction; Natural hazards; Extreme weather; Wind; Wildfires; Communities; Buildings; Population; Assets; Urban development; Planning; Emergency preparedness; Governance; Geographic data; cumulative effects
Illustrationsflow diagrams; Venn diagrams; sketch maps; bar graphs; pie charts; tables; satellite images; schematic representations; photographs; time series
ProgramPublic Safety Geoscience National Earthquake Risk Assessment Framework
Released2022 05 05
AbstractNatural hazard threats occur in areas of the built environment where buildings, people, and related financial assets are exposed to the physical effects of earth system processes that have a potential to cause damage, injuries, losses, and related socioeconomic disruption. As cities, towns, and villages continue to expand and densify in response to the pressures of urban growth and development, so too do the levels of exposure and susceptibility to natural hazard threat. While our understanding of natural hazard processes has increased significantly over the last few decades, the ability to assess both overall levels of physical exposure and the expected impacts and consequences of future disaster events (i.e., risk) is often limited by access to an equally comprehensive understanding of the built environment and detailed descriptions of who and what are situated in harm's way. This study addresses the current gaps in our understanding of physical exposure to natural hazards by presenting results of a national model that documents characteristics of the built environment for all settled areas in Canada. The model (CanEM) includes a characterization of broad land use patterns that describe the form and function of cities, towns, and villages of varying size and complexity, and the corresponding portfolios of people, buildings and related financial assets that make up the internal structure and composition of these communities at the census dissemination area level. Outputs of the CanEM model are used to carry out a preliminary assessment of exposure and susceptibility to significant natural hazard threats in Canada including earthquake ground shaking; inundation of low-lying areas by floods and tsunami; severe winds associated with hurricanes and tornados; wildland urban interface fire (wildfire); and landslides of various types. Results of our assessment provide important new insights on patterns of development and defining characteristics of the built environment for major metropolitan centres, rural and remote communities in different physiographic regions of Canada, and the effects of ongoing urbanization on escalating disaster risk trends at the community level. Profiles of physical exposure and hazard susceptibility described in this report are accompanied by open-source datasets that can be used to inform local and/or regional assessments of disaster risk, community planning and emergency management activities for all areas in Canada. Study outputs contribute to broader policy goals and objectives of the International Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 2015-2030; Un General Assembly, 2015) and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR 2015-2030; United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction [UNDRR], 2015), of which Canada is a contributing member. These include a more complete understanding of natural hazard risk at all levels of government, and the translation of this knowledge into actionable strategies that are effective in reducing intrinsic vulnerabilities of the built environment and in strengthening the capacity of communities to withstand and recover from future disaster events.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Risk assessment is a key component of disaster risk reduction and policy development in areas prone to geohazards. However, these assessments often require considerable resources and effort to generate the necessary hazard, exposure, and vulnerability input information. This Open File provides an overview of the methods used to develop a national model of physical exposure intended to support geohazards risk assessments in Canada at the neighbourhood scale or larger, as well as the findings about the status of physical exposure and susceptibility to earthquake, flood, wildfire, hurricane, and landslide hazards in Canada. The physical exposure model is based on data from the 2016 national census, interpreted satellite information, a national registry of businesses, and emerging standards for building inventory modelling. Model results show there are approximately 9.7 million permanent buildings in Canada worth approximately $8.24 trillion (2020 CAD). Three-quarters of these are single-family wood frame structures, and 6% are unreinforced masonry buildings which represent the most vulnerable building type to most natural hazards. The model estimates that residential buildings are worth approximately 60% of the total building stock, with commercial buildings accounting for 30% of the value, and the remainder distributed between industrial and civic buildings. The assessment of susceptibility to select natural hazards estimates the fraction of buildings, persons, and building asset values within areas of potential impact based on publicly available national-scale hazard models. We estimate approximately half of Canadians could be exposed to earthquake hazards, one third could be exposed to hurricane winds, one fifth could be exposed to flooding, and less than ten percent could be exposed to either wildfire, landslides, or tsunamis. We hope the physical exposure model presented in this study can reduce the effort required by practitioners to complete risk assessments in Canada, and form a basis for better understanding of national or regional multihazard risks.

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