UR BC 2020: Online Symposium + Events Series Program



Summer Sessions


Socio-economic Equity in an all-hazards Approach to DRR and CCA: Challenges and Opportunities Identified through COVID Response and Recovery

August 6th, 10-12pm

Convened by Sahar Safaie (Sage On Earth Consulting and DRR Pathways Project Team) with contributions from Nicole Spence (PHSA)

  • Capturing lessons learned from the challenges faced during COVID-19 pandemic response rooted in socioeconomic inequality and opportunities for building equity in recovery post pandemic.

  • Drawing connections with Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and all-hazards approach to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)



  • Ms. Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity

  • Dr. Robin Cox, Program Head for Master of Arts in Climate Action Leadership; Disaster Management graduate program faculty at Royal Roads University

  • Dr. Emily Dicken, Director of Emergency Management at First Nations Health Authority (FNHA)

  • Dr. Jackie Yip, Coastal risk scientist at Natural Resources Canada

  • Dr. Laurie Johnson, Principal and Founder, Laurie Johnson Consulting (USA)


  • Sahar Safaie, Founder and Principal Consultant, Sage On Earth Consulting Ltd.

Understanding Economic Impacts of Disasters and Economic Resilience

August 13th, 10-12pm

Convened by Sahar Safaie (Sage Consulting and DRR Pathways Project Team)

  • Learn about fundamental concepts and modeling capabilities for estimating and understanding the macroeconomic impacts of disasters 

  • Learn about available methodologies and tools for estimating economic resilience including businesses resilience

  • Discussing the insurance sector role, use of risk information in financial resilience planning as well as the opportunities in response and recovery planning including post COVID recovery

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Dr. Adam Rose, Director of the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events and Research Professor in the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California

  • Mr. Paul Kovacs, Founder and Executive Director,  Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction


  • Malaika Ulmi, Scientific Planning Officer, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)

Image by iMattSmart
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Pre-Symposium Workshops

Black Swans over Vancouver: Insights from Disaster Risk and Recovery Modelling of the Lower Mainland Region

September 9th, 9-11 am 

Convened by Murray Journeay (NRCan),, With Tiegan Hobbs and Jackie Yip (Geological Survey of Canada), Steve Litke & Frances Woo (Fraser Basin Council), Sahar Safaie (Sage Consulting), Stephanie Chang, Ryan Reynolds & Juri Kim (UBC School of Community and Regional Planning), David Bristow & Andrew Deelstra (UVic Civil Engineering, Cities and Systems Infrastructure Lab) & Paul Chouinard (Defence Research and Development Canada)

  • This workshop session will explore flood and seismic risk in the Lower Mainland, recent advancements in related risk assessments and advance the vision of an integrated, dynamic model for the Lower Mainland.

The Role of the BC DRR Hub in Enhancing  Use of Risk Information in Disaster and Climate Risk Reduction

September 10th, 1-3 pm 

Convened by Sahar Safaie (Sage Consulting and DRR Pathways Project)

  • This session introduces the proposed design for BC DRR Hub as a mechanism to strengthen the governance of disaster and climate risk management. Participants will share insights and suggestions on the challenges, expectations, and good approaches to enhancing use of risk information in designing resilience policies and plans.

UR BC 2020 Symposium - September Sprint + Shake Out


Big Moves to Reduce Risk & Build Resilience in Southwest BC. Presentations, Dialogue, Ignite talks, and Art!- Symposium Sprint One Launch 

September 14, 1-4pm

Hosted by Susanna Haas Lyons (UR Organizing Committee), With Jessica Shoubridge (UR Organizing Committee), Murray Journeay (NRCan & UR Organizing Committee) and Tamsin Lyle (Ebbwater), and representatives from each September ‘Initiative in Focus’ session

  • This session will set the context for the 2020 symposium, including looking at the ‘where have we come from, why is this work important, and what are the risk reduction ‘big moves’ that the symposium sessions can further explore that support pathways to a resilient 2050 in the Lower Mainland. The first set of Ignite talks will be given by representatives from each initiative-in focus session which will provide an overview of the content to come in the September events series. Local artists will contribute to launching our work together.

Image by Marco Tjokro

Seismic Risk Reduction for Buildings: A Conversation About Options - Initiatives in Focus Session

September 15- 1-3 pm 

Convened by Micah Hilt (City of Vancouver) & Andrew Pape-Salmon (Province of BC - BSSB), With Kylie Sandham (Province of BC - BSSB)

  • This session will provide an overview of the current regulatory context for buildings in British Columbia as it relates to seismic risk reduction and will explore potential policy tools and approaches for vulnerable buildings. It will also explore seismic risk reduction in the context of transformational opportunities, where the nexus of issues of affordability, potential displacement or disruption of residents, and cost, among other intersections, are at work


Working Together to Bend the Flood Risk Curve in BC’s Lower Mainland- Initiatives in Focus Session

September 22 - 9-11am

Convened by Steve Litke (Fraser Basin Council) 

  • This session will share highlights of a draft strategy that is being developed in partnership with over fifty organizations to reduce Fraser River and coastal flood risk in the Lower Mainland. Key findings on flood hazard and risk analysis will be presented along with draft recommendations to reduce risk. Interactive discussions will be facilitated to provide feedback on the draft strategy.


Low Carbon, Resilient Buildings- Dialogue Session 

September 22, 1-2:30 pm

With Dale Mikkelsen (SFU-Community Trust), Carlos Molina Hutt (UBC & EERI BC), Ilana Judah, (UBC), Tamsin Lyle (Ebbwater), Matt Strand (QUADReal), moderated by George Benson (Vancouver Economic Commission, Sector Lead- Built Environment)  

  • This panel will explore the ins and outs of enhancing low-carbon resilience in both new and existing buildings in BC, including lessons learned from; implementing the Living Building/Living Community Challenges at SFU, seismic retrofitting projects in San Francisco, a developer’s perspective on incorporating a business process for integrating climate change risk into global investment decisions, and a variety of perspectives regarding how we fund/finance the transformative investments needed.

Image by Mike Benna

Shaping our Future: A Resilient Metro Vancouver 2050- Initiatives in Focus Session

September 29- 9-11am

Convened by Edward Nichol & James Stiver (Metro 2050Vancouver), With Tony Vi (Translink) & Jason Emmert (Climate 2050) 

  • Three major long-range planning initiatives are currently being developed to address land use and growth management, climate change, and transportation at the regional scale – Metro 2050, Climate 2050 and Transport 2050. This session will explore opportunities to integrate resilience into these regional-scale plans by identifying data and implementation gaps, and generating “big ideas” that can bring us closer to a resilient region by 2050 through shared strategies and policies.


Beyond Death, Dollars and Downtime: Exploring Functional Recovery for BC- Dialogue Session

September 29, 1-2:30 pm

With David Bonowitz (EERI Distinguished Lecturer 2020), Angie Woo (Fraser Health), John Sherstobitoff (John Sherstobitoff, Principal- Seismic & Structures at Ausenco, Chair of NBCC Standing Committee on Earthquake Design and Founding President of EERI-BC), & Ibbi Almufti (Risk and Resilience Leader, Arup San Francisco) moderated by Micah Hilt (City of Vancouver)

  • Hear from a panel of practitioners, local and US-based, how they are thinking about and implementing performance-based approaches to enhancing resilience in the built environment and how this influences recovery trajectories. This session is hosted in collaboration with the local chapter of EERI (EERI-BC), featuring this year’s distinguished lecturer, David Bonowitz.


Launch of National Earthquake Profile- Shake-Out Event

October 15, 9-11:00 am

Convened by Murray Journeay (NRCan, with Tiegan Hobbs (NRCan), Jackie Yipp (NRCan), Vitor Silva (Global Earthquake Model Foundation) & Anirudh Rao (Global Earthquake Model Foundation) 

  • Natural Resources Canada is developing an earthquake risk model for Canada that will establish a base of evidence to inform disaster resilience planning in accordance with policy and technical implementation guidelines established as part of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR). The model is implemented using GEM’s OpenQuake Engine. It extends the scope of probabilistic seismic hazard models currently used to inform Canada’s National Building Code (NBCC) by introducing a structured framework of indicators that profile physical, social and economic dimensions of earthquake risk at the neighbourhood scale. Indicators are aligned with the SFDRR monitoring framework and are used to both analyze existing baseline conditions of earthquake risk, and evaluate opportunities for risk reduction through proactive investments in seismic mitigation.

UR BC Symposium - November Sprint + Close Out

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Canada’s Emergency Management Strategy & National Risk Profile: Exploring Federal-Provincial Collaboration- Symposium Sprint Two Launch & Initiatives in Focus Session


November 2, 9am-12pm

Convened by Malaika Ulmi (NRCan), with Stéphanie Durand (PSC), Rory Gilsenan (NRCan), Mike Norton (NRCan), Dave Peterson (EMBC), Brad Stennes (NRCan), Paula McLeod (NRCan), and Doris Fortin (ECCC)

  • This session will ‘reboot’ the programming  by providing a short reflection on what we’ve heard so far in the 2020 programming and featuring a second set of Ignite talks which will be given by representatives from each "initiative in focus" session. Local artists will contribute to launching our work together. 

  • It will also include an "initiative in focus" session that will look at the national risk profile. The National Risk Profile is a Budget 2019 initiative that will improve Canada’s ability to predict and respond to natural hazards, including enhancing our understanding of the nature of the risks posed by floods, wildfires and earthquakes. This session will socialize the work taking place as part of the hazard-specific initiatives within the National Risk Profile, and discuss with the audience where connection points may be to their work. 

Image by Nick West

Grounding our Resilience through Indigenous Approaches to Wellness: Teachings on Cedar as a Sacred Medicine- Initiatives in Focus Session

November 2, 1:00-2:30pm

Convened by Emily Dicken (First Nations Health Authority)

  • Perspectives on Indigenous resilience are as varied and diverse as the distinct communities where this knowledge is held. Narratives of resilience are rooted in culturally unique concepts that are nested within the richness of Indigenous languages, protocols and knowledge. Through the sharing of teachings on cedar as a sacred medicine, this session aims to honour a space of wellness through a dialogue grounded in strategies of Indigenous resilience.


Test-driving a Rapid Damage Assessment Methodology for British Columbia Earthquakes- Initiatives in Focus Session

November 3, 9-11am

Convened by Tiegan Hoobs (NRCan), with Murray Journeay (NRCan), Tiegan Hobbs (NRCan), and Gurdeep Singh (Province of BC- GeoBC)

  • NRCan and GeoBC present a new initiative to develop a rapid disaster model for earthquakes in British Columbia (BC). We will explore best practice and the feasibility of using rapidly available seismic data in the existing OpenQuake Canada framework to report on key metrics for early response: collapsed buildings, entrapment injuries, hospital demand surge, roadway debris which may block response, and immediate mass care needs like shelter requirements. These indicators, which would likely be available within an hour of the earthquake, will be ported to the GeoBC Common Operating Picture, the online portal for authoritative and coordinated distribution of emergency management information in the province.

Image by Chronis Yan

Finance in Focus: Incentivizing Investment in Risk Reduction and Adaptation- Dialogue Session

November 3, 1-2:30pm

Moderated by Tamsin Mills (City of Vancouver), with Ujala Qadir (Climate Bonds), BC Financial Services Authority, Matt Osler (City of Surrey) 

  • This session will focus on funding and financial incentives for risk reduction/adaptation. Based on the tensions and incentives identified in the initiatives in focus sessions, what are the ‘big moves’ when it comes to funding/financing risk reduction and CCA efforts and projects? While climate risk disclosures and resilience ratings will drive the market, how do we ensure equitable shares in resilience dividends?


Development in Hazardous Areas:  Supporting Development that Reduces Disaster Risk and Adapts to Climate Change - Initiatives in Focus Session

November 10, 9-11am

Convened by Katie Olthuis (Province of BC- ENV), and Andrew Giles (Province of BC- EMBC)

  • Explore how we can make risk-based development decisions in the face of changing hazards and risks.

  • Join Emergency Management BC, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy’s Climate Action Secretariat and other practitioners in an interactive session focusing on what is needed to shift development patterns in hazardous areas.

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Resilient Infrastructure in the Age of the Anthropocene- Dialogue Session

Nov 10, 1-2:30pm 

With Roy Brooke (Municipal Natural Assets Initiative-MNAI), Mikhail V Chester (School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Arizona State University), Matt Osler (City of Surrey- Living Dikes project), moderated by Kristy McConnel (Mott MacDonald & PIBCs 2020 award winner for Young Professional Leadership)

  • This session will look at infrastructure through the lens of the multiple challenges and opportunities we currently face in an era of unprecedented change and disaster risk: from funding and asset management, governance of centralized grids, multihazard considerations in the Lower Mainland (flood and seismic risk reduction/resilience) and the collaboration and innovation required to foster resilient infrastructure through approaches such as decentralization and shoring up blue-green assets.

Image by Kyle Thacker

Towards Best Practices in Developing Coastal Flood Scenarios for Adaptation and Risk Reduction- Initiatives in Focus Session

November 17- 9-11am

Convened by Jackie Yip (NRCan), Nicky Hastings (NRCan), with Enda Murphy (NRC), Nikki Elliott (Capital Regional District), Olympia Koziatek (City Of Victoria Emergency Management) and David Forde (Associated Engineering) 

  • The capacity for coastal flood risk assessment to inform decision-making is largely dictated by the range and magnitude of the flood scenarios considered. This session will showcase coastal flood risk assessments completed by several distinctly different communities, with a focus on the scenario selection process, associated challenges, resources and effort required, and the capacity to support decision-making related to current and future coastal flood risk. Feedback provided by participants will help shape and enhance the applicability of a number of flood-related guidelines currently being developed.


Exploration and Feedback on Risk Modelling Web Platform (OpenDRR Risk Profiler)- Initiatives in Focus Session


November 17, 1-3pm

Convened by Murray Journeay (NRCan)  

  • This session specifically addresses recommendations coming from previous UR sessions regarding the use of web-based platforms and information visualization to help promote a shared understanding of risk to support a broad range of risk management decisions by individuals, businesses and organizations. NRCan is in the process of developing the RiskProfiler application and is intending to use this session as a means of giving the end user communities an opportunity to help shape the final outputs.


Data Management Approaches and Platforms in BC: Defining a Path Forward for BCs DRR Hub- Initiatives in Focus Session

November 24th, 9-11am 

Convened by Sahar Safaie (Sage Consulting and DRR Pathways Project Team) 

  • The purpose of this session is to present results of a study being carried out to take stock of existing hazard and risk information and explore strategies for how to make this information more accessible to researchers and practitioners in BC. This work ties into broader initiatives led by the Province of BC and various federal agencies (NRCan, StatsCan, etc.). Participants will hear an overview of the available data management platforms and approaches in BC (GeoBC, NRCan, FLRNO, private sector, etc), get into the challenges and issues related to data standards, legislation, and data platforms current status/function/API connections/and Gaps and help identify how the Hub can play a role in connecting them and filling the gaps to serve the DRR community.


URBC 2020 Wrap Up: Report Back on Session Highlights, Revisit Risk Reduction Targets, Next Steps for BC’s Resilience Roadmap

November 24, 1-4pm

With Jessica Shoubridge (UR Organizing Committee), Susanna Haas Lyons (UR Organizing Committee), Andrew Pape Salmon (BC Govt), & representatives from each ‘Initiative in Focus Session’

  • Hear key highlights from session conveners, reflections on how ‘big moves ‘ can be implemented to advance a less risky, more resilient future for Southwest BC and what that road map looks like for continuing to advance collaboration and innovation.