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UR BC 2020: Summer Sessions 

Summer Sessions

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)

Understanding Economic Impacts of Disasters and Economic Resilience

August 13th, 10-12pm

Convened by Sahar Safaie (Sage Consulting and DRR Pathways Project Team), Moderated by Malaika Ulmi (NRCan)

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

  • Discussing the conceptual understanding and available modeling capabilities for direct/indirect economic impacts of disasters and best practices in building economic resilience. 

Image by iMattSmart
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UR BC 2020 Symposium - September Kickoff + Sprint

September Sprint + Shake out

Big Moves to Reduce Risk & Build Resilience in Southwest BC. With Ignite talks, and Local Music!Symposium Sprint One Launch 

September 14, 1-4pm

Featuring Laurie Johnson & music from the Spiritual Warriors

Hosted by Susanna Haas Lyons (UR Organizing Committee), With Jessica Shoubridge (UR Organizing Committee), Murray Journeay (NRCan & UR Organizing Committee), Tamsin Lyle (Ebbwater), & representatives from each September & October ‘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. Local artists will contribute to launching our work together.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/October events series- featuring:

Andrew Pape- Salmon, Building Safety Standards Branch 

Steve Litke, Fraser Basin Council

James Stiver, Metro Vancouver

Murray Journeay, Natural Resources Canada/Geological Survey of Canada

Sahar Safaie, DRR Pathways

Image by Marco Tjokro

Seismic Risk Reduction for Buildings: A Conversation About Options and Action - 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 MainlandInitiatives in Focus Session

September 22 - 9-11am

Convened by Steve Litke & Frances Woo (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: Lessons Learned and a Path ForwardDialogue 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 2050Initiatives in Focus Session

September 29- 9-11am

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

  • 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 BCDialogue Session

September 29, 1-2:30 pm

With David Bonowitz (EERI Distinguished Lecturer 2020), Angie Woo (Fraser Health), 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.

October 2020 Sessions

October Sessions
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Black Swans Over Vancouver: From Understanding Risk to Identifying Interventions and Related risk Reduction TargetsInitiatives in Focus Session

Falling on the UN's International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

October 13th, 9-11 am

Convened by Murray Journeay & Jackie Yip (Geological Survey of Canada), With Tiegan Hobbs, Sahar Safaie (Sage Consulting), David Bristow, and Andrew Deelstra (UVic Civil Engineering, Cities and Systems Infrastructure Lab), and Paul Chouinard (Defence Research and Development Canada)

  • Take part in a guided exploration of how the physical impacts of severe earthquake and flood events are likely to strain existing social fabrics -- with the intent of identifying specific interventions and related risk reduction targets that would result in a more desirable recovery outcome.

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Strengthening Risk Information Governance

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

Initiatives in Focus Session

October 20th, 1-3 pm

Convened by Sahar Safaie (Sage Consulting and DRR Pathways Project), With Micah Hilt (City of Vancouver), Trisha Maciejko (IPREM), Murray Journeay (GSC), Gurdeep Singh (GeoBC)

  • 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 the use of risk information in designing resilience policies and plans.

November Sprint + Close Out
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Symposium Sprint Two Launch & The National Risk Profile and EM Strategy- Initiative in Focus Session

November 2, 9am-12pm (Pacific)


November Sprint Launch - 9am

Hosted by Susanna Haas Lyons, With Murray Journeay & Rup Sidhu

With presentations from Emily Dicken (First Nations Health Authority), Tiegan Hobbs (NRCan), Nicky Hastings (NRCan), and Karolina Pol (Geological Survey of Canada)


  • This session will ‘reboot’ the programming  by providing a short reflection on what we’ve heard so far in the 2020 programming and where we are going from here in the upcoming sessions. Featuring a second set of Ignite talks offering a sneak peak into upcoming URBC 'initiative in focus' sessions and interactive freestyle rap with Rup Sidhu  


EM Strategy for Canada & the National Risk Profile: What it Means on the Ground in BC - 10am

- Initiative in Focus Session

Convened by Malaika Ulmi (NRCan), With Dave Peterson (EMBC), Stéphanie Durand (Public Safety Canada), Rory Gilsenan (NRCan), Mike Norton (NRCan), Brad Stennes (NRCan), and Paula McLeod (NRCan)

  • The Emergency Management Strategy for Canada seeks to strengthen Canada’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. As part of this, the National Risk Profile is an intergovernmental and whole-of-society approach to identify, analyze, and address risks and capability gaps. In its first stages of implementation, it is enhancing our understanding of the risks posed by floods, wildfires and earthquakes. This session will examine the hazard and risk landscape in BC, socialize the work taking place as part of the federal hazard-specific initiatives within the National Risk Profile, and connect the work of the various pieces and initiatives with the audience.

Image by Nick West

Grounding our Resilience through Indigenous Approaches to WellnessInitiatives in Focus Session

November 2, 1-2:30pm

Convened by Emily Dicken (First Nations Health Authority). Featuring: Syexwaliya (Ann Whonnock) (Ancestral Knowledge Holder, Squamish Nation), Levi Matrin (Nuu Chah Nulth Elder and Healer with Tsow Tun Le Lum), Jodi August (Resolution Health Support Worker Coordinator with Tsow Tun Le Lum), Stephanie Papik (Director Strategic Integration of Indigenous Knowledge, Cultural Safety and Humility, Emergency Management BC) & Janene Erickson (First Nations Health Authority/Fit Nation)

  • 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 Disaster Modelling Methodology for British Columbia Earthquakes- Initiatives in Focus Session

November 3, 9-11am

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

  • 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

With Ujala Qadir (Climate Bonds), Dan Oprescu (BC Financial Services Authority), Richard Freund (Climate Disclosure Project- CDP) and Matt Osler (City of Surrey), Moderated by Puninda Thind (Delphi Group & Global Shapers Community)

  • 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

* PLEASE NOTE - This session was postponed until 2021 due to provincial election. It will be hosted as a regional resilience roundtable (URBCx 2021) on October 7th, 2021. 

Register here.

November 10, 9-11am

Convened by Katie Olthuis (Province of BC- Climate Action Secretariat) & Andrew Giles (Province of BC- EMBC)

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

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Resilient Infrastructure in the Age of the Anthropocene- Dialogue Session

Nov 10, 1-2:30 pm 

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- 9-11 am

Convened by Jackie Yip (NRCan) & Nicky Hastings (NRCan), With Enda Murphy (National Research Council), Nikki Elliott (Capital Regional District), Olympia Koziatek (City Of Victoria Emergency Management), David Forde (Associated Engineering), Silja Hund (Ebbwater Consulting), and Keith Orchiston (District of Tofino)

  • 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.

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Resilient Infrastructure in the Age of the AnthropoceneDialogue Session

November 10, 1-2:30 pm 

With Roy Brooke (Municipal Natural Assets Initiative-MNAI), Mikhail V Chester (School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Arizona State University), Deb Carlson (West Coast Environmental Law), David Bristow (University of Victoria, Cities and Infrastructure Systems Lab), 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.


Mainstreaming Seismic Resilience: Transforming Earthquake Risk Information into Plans for Resilient Communities - Initiatives in Focus Session

November 17- 1-3 pm

Convened by Karolina Pol (Geological Survey of Canada), With Murray Journeay (Geological Survey of Canada) and Tiegan Hobbs (Geological Survey of Canada)

  • Join us for the pre-release of Natural Resources Canada’s innovative mapping tool, the National Earthquake Risk Profile (“the Profile”), with neighbourhood-level data on the potential impacts of a significant earthquake on communities across Canada, focusing on two high-risk areas: the West Coast and the Ottawa and St. Lawrence River Valleys. Participants will collaborate with colleagues working in diverse fields across the country to design an earthquake-resilient city, using the Profile to integrate earthquake mitigation measures into community planning. We invite you to test out this new tool and provide important feedback to ensure that it is relevant and useful for your work. This co-learning exercise will inform the development of national guidelines to mitigate seismic risk in Canadian communities and foster resilience in an era defined by uncertainty and change.


Terra-Cognita: How Can We Accelerate Disaster Resilience Planning with OpenData? - Initiatives in Focus Session

PLEASE NOTE: This session will be FREE and open to attend- please click through to 'save my spot' to register


November 24th, 9-11am

Convened by Joost van Ulden (NRCan), With Murray Journeay (NRCan), Janice Sharpe and Alexandre Tardif (Federal Geospatial Platform)

  • 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.


URBC 2020 Report Back & Celebration

PLEASE NOTE: This session will be FREE and open to attend- please click through to 'save my spot' to register


November 24, 1-4pm

Featuring storytelling by Councillor Chris Lewis (Squamish Nation), and improv drama performance by Jacques Lalond.

Closing reflections from Meredith Fyfe (Western University), Pouria Kourehpaz (UBC), Andrew Pape-Salmon (BC Government), Johanna Wagstaffe (CBC News), Jennifer Cutbill (Lateral Agency) & Murray Journeay (URBC).

Hosted by Susanna Haas Lyons (URBC), With Jessica Shoubridge (URBC)

  • Hear traditional Squamish stories about community resilience and the Great Flood.

  • Learn about next steps for regional resilience in BC, emerging from URBC 2020 sessions convened by government agencies, planners and engineers, non-profits, FN health authority, and more. Session convenors will report on key highlights.

  • Be entertained by comedy improv on the theme of disaster risk reduction.

  • Featured speakers will reflect on URBC outcomes and how ‘big moves ’ can be implemented to advance a less risky, more resilient future for Southwest BC. Together we’ll consider a road map for continuing to advance collaboration and innovation.

November 2020 Sprint + Close Out

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