Canada needs to do more to prepare for emergencies, according to Canadian and world experts gathered at a conference hosted by Carleton University February 2, 2017 at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building in downtown Ottawa.

Members of Parliament, Senators, political staffers, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, senior government officials, journalists, and Carleton faculty and students listened to military leaders, private sector companies, the Red Cross, and insurance industry executives speaking at Disaster Proofing Canada: Preparedness for Parliamentarians.

“In cyber, I see a fairly strong commitment to prevention. On natural disasters, we have not had the same commitment to investing in prevention. Why?” asked Paul Kovacs, executive director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction.

Experts from Japan and New Zealand stressed that it was cheaper to invest in prevention than to pay for recovery. Yet both said that a speedy response was essential to long term recovery. General (Rtd) Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA, warned of the compounding vulnerability of cyberthreats.

Some of the takeaways: improve risk governance; build resilience, invest in risk reduction, institute a national volunteer corps and implement a better ‘response and re-build’ mechanism.

The event was organized with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute with the support of Randy Boissonnault, M.P., Edmonton-Centre; Tony Clement, M.P., Official Opposition Critic for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; and Matthew Dubé, M.P., NDP Critic for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

CPAC taped the panel for broadcast and it will be available at http://www.cpac.ca

The program for Disaster Proofing Canada: Preparedness for Parliamentarians is available here.

A summary of the discussion prepared by Carleton student Sonia Hukil with assistance from Josiah Witherspoon and Brian Lee is available here.

Power point presentations are available from:

Rear Admiral J.R. Auchterlonie, Deputy Commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command

Eva Cohen – Special Advisor Volunteer Civil Protection, RSC Strategic Connections

Paul Kovacs – Director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Conrad Sauvé – CEO, Red Cross

Kimio Takeya – Distinguished Technical Advisor to the President, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and Visiting Professor, Tohoku University, International Research Institute

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