Fire Fighting in Canada

Uncategorized Emergency Management
Are Canadians prepared for the next weather-related disaster?

June 8, 2023 
By StatsCAN Plus



Weather-related emergencies occur every year in Canada.

In 2021, British Columbia endured record high summer temperatures, a drought and wildfires, followed by record rains and flooding in the fall. Millions of people living in Ontario and Quebec have lost power for extended periods in the past year in the wake of a deadly derecho windstorm in May 2022 and an ice storm this spring.

We asked Canadians to share their level of concern about the risk of natural disasters and weather-related emergencies in the fall of 2022 through our Canadian Social Survey. We also asked whether they or someone in their household had taken steps to prepare, or helped others prepare, for said events.

Half of Canadians are a little or not concerned at all about the risk of weather-related emergencies or natural disasters

In the fall of 2022, half (50%) of Canadians told us they were a little or not concerned at all about the risk of a weather-related emergency or natural disaster. The other half was somewhat concerned (30%) or extremely or very concerned (20%).

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Almost one-quarter (24%) of Canadians told us they or someone in their household had taken steps in the previous 12 months to prepare for a weather-related emergency or natural disaster, while 1 in 10 (10%) had helped others in their community prepare.

Prince Edward Islanders are most concerned about the risk of a natural disaster or weather-related emergency

Given that the survey was conducted shortly after Hurricane Fiona had struck Atlantic Canada, it is perhaps not surprising that residents of the hardest hit provinces would voice their concern about the risk of a natural disaster or weather-related emergency. The highest level of concern was among residents of Prince Edward Island (44%), followed by Nova Scotia (32%) and British Columbia (28%).

Just over three-quarters (76%) of Prince Edward Islanders and 71% of Nova Scotians reported taking steps to prepare for a natural disaster or weather-related emergency.

Just over half (52%) of Prince Edward Islanders reported helping others in their community to prepare for a natural disaster or weather-related emergency, the highest share nationally.

Rural Canadians are more likely to take steps to prepare for a natural disaster or weather-related emergency than urbanites

In the fall of 2022, just under one-third (32%) of Canadians living in rural areas reported taking steps to prepare for a natural disaster or weather-related emergency in the previous 12 months, compared with just under one-quarter (23%) of urbanites.

Rural residents (14%) were also more likely to have helped others in their community prepare for such an event over the previous 12 months than urban dwellers (10%).

Young Canadians are less likely to report being concerned about a weather-related emergency or natural disaster

Youth aged 15 to 24 years (15%) were the least likely to report being extremely or very concerned about a natural disaster or weather-related emergency. Just over one in five Canadians aged 25 to 54 years (21%) were extremely or very concerned about a natural disaster or weather-related emergency, with the level of concern peaking among those aged 55 to 64 years (23%).

Canadians who said their household could not cover an unexpected expense of $500 were more likely to be extremely or very concerned about natural disasters or weather-related emergencies (26%) compared with those who could cover such an expense (18%). Despite higher levels of concern, Canadians who said their household could not cover an unexpected expense of $500 were less likely to have taken steps to prepare in the previous year (20%) compared to Canadians who said their household could cover an unexpected expense of $500 (26%).

Learn more

Readers interested in learning more on the subject should check out the infographic “Preparing for weather-related emergencies in Canada.”


This article is republished with permission from StatsCAN Plus and originally appeared here


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