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TitleSocial vulnerability to natural hazards in Canada
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorJourneay, M; Yip, J Z K; Wagner, C L; LeSueur, PORCID logo; Hobbs, TORCID logo
SourceGeological Survey of Canada, Open File 8902, 2022, 84 pages, Open Access logo Open Access
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Documentopen file
Mediadigital; on-line
File formatpdf
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
SubjectsScience and Technology; Nature and Environment; Health and Safety; Society and Culture; models; earthquakes; Hazards of Place Model; Natural hazards; Vulnerable populations; Risk assessment; Risk management; Demographic data; Social conditions; Indicators; Resilience; Emergency planning; Methodology; Sustainable development; Community development; Open data; Case studies
Illustrationsflow diagrams; schematic representations; sketch maps; bar graphs; tables; pie charts; photographs
ProgramPublic Safety Geoscience National Earthquake Risk Assessment Framework
Released2022 07 14
AbstractWhile we are exposed to the physical effects of natural hazard processes, certain groups within a community often bear a disproportionate share of the negative consequences when a disaster strikes. This study addresses questions of why some places and population groups in Canada are more vulnerable to natural hazard processes than others, who is most likely to bear the greatest burden of risk within a given community or region, and what are the underlying factors that disproportionally affect the capacities of individuals and groups to withstand, cope with, and recover from the impacts and downstream consequences of a disaster. Our assessment of social vulnerability is based on principles and analytic methods established as part of the Hazards of Place model (Hewitt et al., 1971; Cutter, 1996), and a corresponding framework of indicators derived from demographic information compiled as part of the 2016 national census. Social determinants of hazard threat are evaluated in the context of backbone patterns that are associated with different types of human settlement (i.e., metropolitan, rural, and remote), and more detailed patterns of land use that reflect physical characteristics of the built environment and related functions that support the day-to-day needs of residents and businesses at the community level. Underlying factors that contribute to regional patterns of social vulnerability are evaluated through the lens of family structure and level of community connectedness (social capital); the ability of individuals and groups to take actions on their own to manage the outcomes of unexpected hazard events (autonomy); shelter conditions that will influence the relative degree of household displacement and reliance on emergency services (housing); and the economic means to sustain the requirements of day-to-day living (e.g., shelter, food, water, basic services) during periods of disruption that can affect employment and other sources of income (financial agency). Results of this study build on and contribute to ongoing research and development efforts within Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to better understand the social and physical determinants of natural hazard risk in support of emergency management and broader dimensions of disaster resilience planning that are undertaken at a community level. Analytic methods and results described in this study are made available as part of an Open Source platform and provide a base of evidence that will be relevant to emergency planners, local authorities and supporting organizations responsible for managing the immediate physical impacts of natural hazard events in Canada, and planners responsible for the integration of disaster resilience principles into the broader context of sustainable land use and community development at the municipal level.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Many of us are exposed to the physical effects of natural hazards, however certain groups within a community often bear a disproportionate share of the physical impacts and related socioeconomic consequences. These are often lower-income households, recent immigrants, racially marginalized populations, and other groups whose rights and needs are not always fully considered in the context of community planning or disaster risk management. This report describes the methods used to develop a national model of social vulnerability to natural hazards in Canada. It summarizes regional patterns of social vulnerability across the country and explores the implications for disaster risk management at local and regional scales. We find that increased density and complexity of land use are strongly related to increased levels of social vulnerability. For example, populations living in multi-family and mixed-use neighbourhoods in urban areas are much more likely to experience higher levels of social vulnerability compared with those living in rural and remote communities governed under provincial jurisdiction. Results of our assessment also show significant levels of disparity between those living on designated Aboriginal lands and the general population. Model outputs are intended to help those tasked with managing natural hazard risk better underlying identify factors that drive patterns of social vulnerability at the community level across Canada.

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