Major earthquake would cripple Canada's economy: Insurance Bureau of Canada

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty listens to a question during a news conference in Ottawa Oct. 28,...

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty listens to a question during a news conference in Ottawa Oct. 28, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:06 PM ET

Canada isn't ready for a major earthquake, the Insurance Bureau of Canada says.

In a peer-reviewed study released Tuesday, the board modelled two earthquakes that could happen.

If a 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit off the West Coast, the country would see economic losses of almost $75 billion.

If a 7.1-magnitude earthquake rocked the Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa corridor, the report said the overall economic losses would total $61 billion.

The report says 40% of Canadians live in the two areas where a major earthquake could feasibly occur.

"If a mega-earthquake should strike in a densely populated area, insurance alone will not pay for all the damage. Governments and consumers have a role to play," IBC president and CEO Don Forgeron said.

The report says there is a 1-in-500 chance of a mega-earthquake. Losses can be mitigated by building more resilient buildings and infrastructure, the report says. It also calls on governments to create a national response plan.


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