IBC: British Columbia unprepared for inevitable earthquake

Published: January 25, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



An earthquake in Alaska earlier week triggered a tsunami warning for the Canadian and US west coast region, including in British Columbia. The warning was ultimately cancelled, but what if the earthquake had been in Canada? The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says the country must be prepared.

The insurance industry group has issued a warning to Canadians, suggesting insurance companies need help in terms of earthquake preparation.

“Preparing Canada for an earthquake is a priority for Canada’s property and casualty insurance industry. But we cannot do it alone,” said IBC president of federal affairs Craig Stewart. “The private sector, governments, communities, and all Canadians must work together to make sure we are prepared for an earthquake.”

The earthquake off the coast of Alaska was of magnitude 7.9 and hit 25 kilometers away from land and underwater. A similar sized quake off the coast of Western Canada would make the chances of a tsunami in the region more likely. The tsunami warning for B.C. was cancelled this week.

Early yesterday, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake occurred just off the coast of Alaska, 25 kilometres underwater. Reports say that there were at least three aftershocks following the initial tremor.

IBC says around 4,000 earthquakes occur in Canada each year, although most are too small to be felt or have an impact. However, data from Natural Resources Canada estimates a 30% chance of a major earthquake hitting British Columbia over the next 50 years.

Standard home and tenant insurance policies do not have earthquake coverage included, points out the IBC in its release.