District of North Vancouver Earthquake Risk Assessment Publications Now Available!

Now available for download are the case study report and associated maps from the collaborative work undertaken in earthquake risk assessment in the District of North Vancouver. A Risk Map Atlas and an 11-part report titled "A profile of earthquake risk for the District of North Vancouver, British Columbia" can be downloaded at the links below.

A profile of earthquake risk for the District of North Vancouver, British Columbia

Risk map atlas: maps from the earthquake risk study for the District of North Vancouver


The societal costs of natural hazards are large and steadily increasing in Canada due to increased urban development, an aging infrastructure, and limited capacities to anticipate and plan for unexpected disasters. Lessons learned from recent disasters underscore the need for a comprehensive risk-based approach to land use planning and emergency management at all levels of government-one that utilizes available knowledge about the risk environment to inform actions that have a potential to minimize future disaster losses and increase the resilience of communities to the dynamic and uncertain forces of change.

We cannot predict or prevent earthquakes from happening. However, we do have the knowledge and capabilities to change the outcome of earthquake disasters through a combination of risk assessment and disaster resilience planning. Risk assessment is the process through which knowledge about a community and its exposure to natural hazards is used to anticipate the likely impacts and consequences of an unexpected event at some point in the future. Disaster resilience planning is focused on actions that can be taken in advance to balance policy trade offs for growth and development (opportunities) with risk reduction investments that have a potential to minimize future losses (liabilities) while increasing capabilities of a community to withstand, respond to and recover from unexpected disaster events (resilience).

This study provides a detailed assessment of earthquake risk for the District of North Vancouver - an urban municipality of approximately 83,000 people situated along the North Shore Mountains in southwestern British Columbia. It describes the probable impacts of a significant earthquake with greater clarity and detail than ever before, and develops both a methodology and target criteria to guide future risk reduction and disaster resilience planning activities through the lens of building performance, public safety, lifeline resilience and socioeconomic security. We examine cause-effect relationships and seismic risks for a plausible earthquake scenario in the Strait of Georgia (M7.3), and undertake a more general assessment of who and what are vulnerable to known earthquake hazards in the region using probabilistic ground motion models that are consistent with those used to establish seismic safety guidelines in the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC, 2010).

Study outputs offer a capacity to explore thresholds of risk tolerance and opportunities for mitigation through ongoing emergency planning and land use decision-making activities in the community. Methodologies and insights gained through this study are transferrable to other communities who may face similar challenges of managing growth and development in areas exposed to earthquake hazards. Key findings and recommendations of the study contribute to broader efforts led by the Canadian Safety and Security Program to support disaster resilience planning at a community level in Canada.

Hazards taxonomy: 
All Hazards
Themes taxonomy: 
Capacity Development
Disaster Mitigation
Disaster Resilience
Disaster Risk Reduction
Emergency Management
Hazus Canada
Infrastructure Planning
Land Use Planning
Policies & Programs
Risk Assessment
Science & Technology
Resources taxonomy: 
Case Studies