ERTH2415 : Natural Disasters Fall
3–4 minutes
Assignment Task

Assignment 1: Canada’s natural disaster mitigation strategy

The objective of this assignment is to explore Canada’s natural disaster mitigation strategies as well as an earthquake event in the Cascadia subduction zone.

Assignment

To complete this written assignment, you should discuss the following:

Review Priority 3 of the Emergency Management Strategy for Canada (Reference 1) and answer the following:
According to Priority 3, what is the most effective emergency management activity?
What are the foundational objectives in this strategy? (4 pts) c. What are the outcomes the government is trying to achieve?
The Emergency Management Strategy for Canada specifies the return on investment for a mitigation strategy is approximately a $6 savings for every $1 spent. We will examine the source of this statement.
Which organization made this conclusion (see Reference 2)?
How was the $6 to $1 ratio calculated?
Why is the $6 to $1 ratio applicable to Canadian events? Why has it been adopted in Canadian policy?
Look up the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund and answer the following:
Describe the fund.
What projects are currently being funded?
Regarding the Cascadia 1700 earthquake, review the article in Hakai Magazine by Ann Finkbeiner (Reference 3), and answer the questions below. Note that you are expected to use correct terminology when referring to Indigenous communities. An attachment in Brightspace, Indigenous Rights Chapter 1 (Reference 4), has been provided by Carleton’s Centre for Indigenous Initiatives as reference.
Which First Nations communities were affected by this event? List 2 communities that are located in Canada.
What story did the First Nations use to explain this event? What does the Thunderbird and Whale represent to the First Nations communities in this region? Hint: See the list of References for a potential reference to use.
What are common elements in these First Nations stories that describe the Cascadia event.
What was the long-term impact on First Nations communities from this event?
Describe the Cascadia 1700 earthquake event using geologic terms used in the course materials

Canada’s natural disaster mitigation strategy is primarily outlined in the Emergency Management Strategy for Canada. Priority 3 of this strategy highlights that the most effective emergency management activity is mitigation, which involves the identification and reduction of risks before a disaster occurs. The foundational objectives of this strategy include building and maintaining resilient infrastructure, enhancing disaster risk management, enhancing disaster response capacity, and strengthening collaboration among stakeholders. The government aims to achieve outcomes such as reduced risk to Canadians and their property, improved readiness for emergencies, and effective response and recovery operations.

The $6 to $1 ratio cited in the Emergency Management Strategy for Canada was calculated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce. This ratio reflects the estimated return on investment for implementing mitigation strategies to reduce the impact of disasters. The ratio is applicable to Canadian events because Canada and the United States share similar economic and social structures, as well as similar natural hazards. It has been adopted in Canadian policy to guide decision-making around investing in disaster mitigation strategies.

The Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund is a federal program that provides funding for large-scale projects that help communities proactively mitigate and adapt to the impacts of natural disasters. The fund aims to increase the resilience of Canadian communities and infrastructure to climate change and other natural hazards. Projects currently being funded include flood mapping and risk assessment, infrastructure upgrades to protect against flooding and other hazards, and the development of early warning systems.

The Cascadia 1700 earthquake was a magnitude 9.0 earthquake that occurred off the coast of North America in January 1700, and was caused by the movement of the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate beneath the North American plate. The earthquake affected a number of First Nations communities along the coast, including the Makah and Nuu-chah-nulth in what is now Canada. First Nations communities in the region have a range of stories and legends that explain the event, many of which feature a battle between the Thunderbird and the Whale. The Thunderbird represents the power of the sky and the Whale represents the power of the sea, and their struggle is said to have caused the earthquake and tsunami.

Common elements in these First Nations stories about the Cascadia event include the idea of a great shaking, followed by a powerful wave or tsunami that causes destruction along the coast. The long-term impact on First Nations communities from this event is difficult to determine, but it is clear that the earthquake and resulting tsunami had a significant impact on coastal ecosystems and disrupted traditional ways of life.

In geological terms, the Cascadia 1700 earthquake was a megathrust earthquake, caused by the sudden movement of tectonic plates along a subduction zone. The Juan de Fuca plate is slowly moving beneath the North American plate, and stress builds up over time as the plates lock together. When the stress becomes too great, the plates suddenly slip, releasing a massive amount of energy in the form of seismic waves that can cause widespread damage and destruction.