Sun, 29 May 2022

March 28, 2022                         Horseshoe Bay, British Columbia                       Natural Resources Canada

Across Canada, natural disasters like floods, landslides, wildfires, and earthquakes are affecting the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Canadians.

Today, Patrick Weiler, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, on behalf of the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources; along with Jennifer Rice, British Columbia Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness; and Mark Collins, President and CEO for BC Ferries, announced that Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has installed the first of hundreds of sensors for the national Early Earthquake Warning (EEW) system. This announcement at the BC Ferries' terminal at Horseshoe Bay is part of a suite of initiatives being brought forward by the Government of Canada to strengthen the safety, security and resilience of Canada's emergency readiness infrastructure.

Building on NRCan's long history as the authoritative source for earthquake information for Canada, NRCan's EEW system will provide notification of earthquakes through a network of sensors and alerting systems for at-risk areas around the country. The EEW system provides seconds to tens of seconds of notice before strong shaking starts, warnings that can help reduce injuries, deaths and property losses. It will be used to generate alerts for critical infrastructure, industry and the public, helping to protect people, communities, infrastructure, and the environment during an event where every second counts. When the full system is online in 2024, more than 10 million people in Canada living in the most earthquake-prone regions of the country will receive Earthquake Early Warning alerts, providing a few precious seconds to take action: usually to drop, cover and hold on.

Alerts from the EEW system could also be used by infrastructure safety systems to take action automatically, such as:

  • Triggering trains to slow down
  • Stopping traffic from driving onto bridges or into tunnels
  • Diverting incoming air traffic
  • Allowing surgeons to stop surgery
  • Closing gas valves
  • Opening fire hall and ambulance bay doors

The EEW system is part of a number of investments across multiple departments that represent the federal government's commitment to meeting shared priorities under the Emergency Management Strategy for Canada (EMS). This strategy was developed in partnership with provincial and territorial governments and in consultation with diverse stakeholders and Indigenous organizations. In Budget 2019, the Government of Canada committed to invest $151 million over five years, with $9.2 million ongoing to support the federal implementation of the Emergency Management Strategy.

The Government of Canada along with provinces, territories, and Indigenous partners will continue to engage and work together to strengthen mitigation, preparedness and response efforts to natural disasters such as earthquakes and ensure the safety of everyone who lives in at-risk regions of Canada.

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