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Session Details

Seismic Risk Reduction for Buildings: A Conversation About Options and Action 

15 September 2020

Webinar Format
Interactive Workshop

Presentation and Discussion

  • Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, Mitzi Dean - Speaker"
    Mitzi Dean was elected as MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin in 2017, and was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity in February 2018. Parliamentary Secretary Dean grew up in southeast England and has spent the last 30 years helping vulnerable people. Before moving to the Victoria area in 2005, Mitzi Dean served as a national development manager for children's services with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the U.K.'s largest child protection charity. Prior to that, she worked in child protection social work and community-based social services across Great Britain for more than 20 years. She also volunteered at a Romanian orphanage and a transition house in the U.K. providing refuge for women experiencing relationship violence. Most recently, she served as executive director of the Pacific Centre Family Services Association. PS Dean lives in Metchosin with her partner and daughter.
  • Robin Cox, Ph.D. Royal Roads University"
    Robin is the Program Head of the graduate programs in Climate Action Leadership at Royal Roads University (RRU) and a Professor in the Disaster and Emergency Management Master of Arts program. As Director of the ResilienceByDesign ILab (RbD) at RRU, Robin leads multiple action research and educational initiatives focused on resilience and enhancing the capacity of youth and adults to address the complex and intersecting challenges of climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
  • Emily Dicken, Ph.D. First Nations Health Authority"
    Dr. Emily Dicken has worked as a practitioner in the field of emergency management since 2006, spending the first twelve years of her career with the province of BC working in health emergency management and then for Emergency Management BC where she held the role of Director, First Nation Coordination. Emily is now the Director of Emergency Management at First Nations Health Authority. Beyond her work at FNHA, Emily pursues academic interests with a central focus on understanding colonialism as an unnatural and enduring disaster impacting Indigenous communities. When not working, Emily can be found enjoying time in the outdoors with her husband Jeff and their two young sons, Keegan and Bowen.
  • Jackie Yip, Ph.D. Natural Resources Canada"
    Jackie Yip is a Research Scientist within the Public Safety Geoscience Program at Natural Resources Canada, where she is leading research efforts in developing best practices and new methods for understanding flood risk and community resilience and recovery. Her research interest lies at the intersect of climate adaptation, disaster risk modelling, and decision-making, and specializes in predictive modelling and data-visualization.
  • Laurie Johnson, Ph.D. Laurie Johnson Consulting I Research"
    Laurie is an internationally-recognized urban planner specializing in disaster recovery and catastrophe risk management, and based in the San Francisco Bay Area. For over 30 years, she has combined her unique blend of professional practice and research to help communities address the complex urban challenges posed by natural hazards and disasters. Much of her post-disaster recovery efforts are captured in her recent book, After Great Disasters: An In-Depth Analysis of How Six Countries Managed Community Recovery (2017). She is President of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and on the Board of Directors of the Earthquakes and Megacities Initiative and the Advisory Board of the Global Earthquake Model (GEM). She was also inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP) in 2018. She holds a Doctorate in Informatics from Kyoto University, Japan, as well as a Master of Urban Planning and Bachelors of Science in Geophysics, both from Texas A&M University.
  • Sahar Safaie (Moderator). Sage On Earth Consulting
    Sahar Safaie is the founder and principal consultant of Sage on Earth Consulting Ltd., based in North Vancouver. The niche of her expertise and services is to enhance the use of disaster and climate risk information in designing resilience policies, investments and programs. She has more than fifteen years of diverse experiences in BC and internationally including at United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Global Earthquake Model, the World Bank, and Risk Management Solutions. Sahar has lead development of two of the Sendai Framework implementation guidelines on National Disaster Risk Assessment and National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies.


The session will facilitate a conversation among stakeholders on policy options for seismic risk reduction for buildings.


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 building types as well as new tools to pursue risk reduction action.  It will 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. This session will present early, high-level findings from cutting-edge risk assessment work as well as a detailed account of the provincial regulatory context around existing buildings to ground a case study-based discussion of potential policy tools to reduce our risk. The session will use the Province’s development and expansion of performance-based seismic retrofit guidelines (SRG) to deepen our engagement regarding risk reduction policy possibility. 


The session will be structured as two presentations followed by an interactive workshop style discussion that is then followed by a presentation on the SRG which will allow for another deeper discussion on risk reduction tools at all levels of government and within all sectors. 

The ideal audience would be participants from engineering firms, policy experts, interested stakeholders from property management, and the construction sector. It would be great to have both familiar faces at the table and new faces, as much of the information will be new or new in the sense that it is presented all at once.

Discussion Questions

  • At a high level, what would be everyone’s top 3 solutions? That is, given the list of building types what would be the most effective AND most feasible means to reducing risk in each of those building types (5-7)? From this high-level question, we can use this to isolate policy options generally and start to understand the opportunities and constraints.

  • What are the unique challenges to each general type use (of buildings) - high-density and low density multi-family residential, low-density commercial (retail, office) and higher density commercial? 

  • What are key secondary regulation and enabling mechanisms that would be needed or required? e.g., tenant protections, funding programs (more specifically than they generally exist), examples from failures and successes of policy addressing other goals and challenges, etc


Convened by Micah Hilt & Andrew Pape-Salmon, With Kylie Sandham

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