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Earthquake impacts

What you need to know
What you need to know

As part of our ongoing efforts to reduce and understand our risk to earthquakes, we've performed a seismic risk assessment for Vancouver’s buildings. 

Our earthquake impact analyisis is part of a larger effort to develop policies, in partnership with the community and the Province, to reduce risk in our buildings. This is the first step of a multi-year process.

Earthquake risk: concentration of damage to buildings

Modelled scenario: magnitude 7.3 earthquake in the Strait of Georgia

This map is based on a simulated magnitude 7.3 earthquake, located about 30 km west of Vancouver at a depth of 5 to 10 kilometres. The map shows the potential concentration and severity of damage to buildings as a result of this earthquake scenario.

This map does not include damage to other types of infrastructure that may impact homes and buildings. Damage is possible across Vancouver and residents everywhere should take steps to prepare their homes and workplaces for earthquakes.

Earthquake risk map (493.72 KB)

Download the detailed earthquake risk map.

Vancouver is vulnerable to many different types of earthquakes. Earthquake science and modelling in this region continues to evolve providing more opportunities to get better prepared.

This is a single scenario that allows us to plan for earthquakes, but it is not a prediction of the actual earthquake we will face. This mapping only considers building damage, and does not reflect social impacts, infrastructure risk, emergency response, loss of life, or economic and recovery impacts.

There is strong potential to reduce risk to buildings and our community. We're learning from other cities like San Francisco, Seattle, Wellington, and Christchurch about different risk reduction strategies. We're working with experts and other levels of government to evaluate a range of policy options and to advocate for incentives and investment in earthquake resilient buildings and infrastructure. 

We'll continue to update this page with new information about risk, and status of policy development and consultation. 

Seismic risk assessment

Related work

This work comes out of the 2013 Earthquake Preparedness Strategy. It identified 55 key tasks, of which 47 are in progress or completed. This analysis is part of one of those tasks.

It is also situated within a larger process to advance citywide resilience, the forthcoming Resilient Vancouver strategy.

Earthquake Preparedness Strategy

We have developed a strategy to better understand the risk and reduce the impact of an earthquake in Vancouver.

Resilient Vancouver

Resilient Vancouver is a citywide strategy that looks at the challenges facing our city and builds capacity for dealing with them.