Reports on Alberta, Canada Wildfires

Thanks to Steve Armstrong, I have copies of two lengthy after-action reports on the wildfires and evacuation in Alberta Canada last year. Since they are 176 and 82 pages long, I will not mount them here. Anyone who wants the full reports should contact me and I will send them to you via email.


“Canada Not Ready for Climate Change”

Canada not ready for climate change, report warns

Canada is ill-prepared for the increased flooding and extreme weather that will occur under climate change, and needs to act now or face much higher costs to fix damaged buildings and infrastructure in the future, a new report warns.

The federal government is set to announce major infrastructure programs in its fall update Tuesday, but Ottawa and the provinces have yet to properly assess how to make the country’s transportation, electricity and water systems more resilient to the threat from climate change, the University of Waterloo’s Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation says in a report to be released Monday.

Alberta Canada – ground zero for natural disasters

To stop Alberta’s natural events from becoming disasters, we must act now

* * * Alberta has been ground zero for catastrophe losses in Canada in recent years.
So far this year, six out of 10 natural disasters (events that caused a minimum $25-million of insured damage) have taken place in the province, with the biggest currently sitting at $3.6-billion insured. Seven of the top 10 costliest natural catastrophes in Canadian history have occurred in Alberta, generating $8.2-billion in insured damage and considerably larger economic losses. All have occurred since 2009.
So the question invariably arises: Why Alberta?

Canada has Weak Safety Culture re Transport

Transport Canada’s lax safety practices go beyond rail; Self-reporting rules for marine, rail and aviation contributing to ‘weak safety culture.’

The deadly Lac-Mégantic train crash — and this week’s safety board report into what happened — raises questions not only about government oversight of the rail industry but of other sectors like air, marine and food as well, engineers and transportation experts say.

On Tuesday, the Transportation Safety Board released its final report on the worst rail disaster in Canada’s history. In it, the watchdog agency criticized how the federal government ensures regulated companies follow safety rules.



Major Environmental Disaster in Canada

The recent dam failure details are described here: Tailings Ponds are the Biggest Environmental Disaster You’ve Never Heard Of. The lead in to the story:

The scale is hard to imagine: gray sludge, several feet deep, gushing with the force of a fire hose through streams and forest—coating everything in its path with ashy gunk. What happened on Monday might have been one of North America’s worst environmental disasters in decades, yet the news barely made it past the Canadian border.

Last Monday, a dam holding waste from the Mount Polley gold and copper mine in the remote Cariboo region of British Columbia broke, spilling 2.6 billion gallons of potentially toxic liquid and 1.3 billion gallons of definitely toxic sludge out into pristine lakes and streams. That’s about 6,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water and waste containing things like arsenic, mercury, and sulphur. Those substances are now mixed into the water that 300 people rely on for tap, hundreds from First Nations tribes rely on for hunting and fishing, and many others rely on for the tourism business.

This article describes some of the consequences: Millions of Fraser River salmon head for waters of B.C. mine disaster

Canadian Emergency Powers article

For those who seek to understand the Canadian system of emergency management, I recommend the work of Prof. John Lindsay, Assistant Professor at Brandon University in Canada. For those of us most familiar with the U.S. system, it is essential to realize that our neighbor to the north has a very different system.

John has recently published a new article, titled  The Power to React: Review and Discussion of Canada’s Emergency Measures Legislation, in the International Journal of Human Rights. His publisher has allowed him a limited no. of links to the full text of the article.  If you have a serious interest in the topic, and do not have access to the journal, please contact him directly to request access to a copy:

“Canada Not Prepared for Natural Disasters” – new reports

Two recent reports have been critical of the readiness of Canada for major natural disasters. See this article re Canada not prepared for natural disasters, say top insurance execs – according to the article:

Canada is doing little to anticipate risks of extreme weather and this inaction will cost us severely when disaster eventually strikes, said Canadian insurance executives during the Globe conference on environmental business and sustainability held in Vancouver.

Mary Lou O’Reilly, senior vice president of issues management and communications with Insurance Bureau of Canada called for action to prepare for the coming storms in Canada.

“For a long time we lived impervious to severe weather but the fact of the matter is that the story has changed,” said O’Reilly, noting last summer’s devastating floods in Alberta and ice storms crippling Toronto this winter.

Another recent report, by the auditor in British Columbia, was critical of the province’s Catastrophic Earthquake Preparedness. Direct URL for that report (44 pp)  is here.