On January 9, 2008, the Government of Canada, together with provincial and territorial governments, launched Canada's National Disaster Mitigation Strategy. This strategy is based on the recognition by federal, provincial and territorial governments that mitigation is an important part of a robust emergency management framework. The goals of Canada's National Disaster Mitigation Strategy are "to reduce risks, impact and costs associated with natural disasters, as well as to foster a disaster-resilient society."
The Canadian Seismic Research Network (CSRN) will contribute to this goal by providing tools and methodologies for engineers, planners and decision makers to update and develop Canadian guidelines for seismic evaluation and retrofitting of the existing urban critical infrastructure. The National Building Code of Canada applies only to new structures. The proposed guidelines will be developed to facilitate the seismic evaluation and retrofit of existing critical public facilities such as hospitals, fire and police stations, schools, communication centres and bridges.
The Network research team consists of 26 researchers from eight universities, together with 33 partner organisations representing federal and provincial government agencies, municipalities, engineering firms, industry, utilities and emergency preparedness agencies. The Network is governed by a Board of Directors and a Scientific Management Committee.
The Network research program includes 16 projects, organized into three themes: Assessment of Seismic Hazard, Assessment of the Vulnerability of Existing Infrastructure and Determining Retrofit Measures for Existing Infrastructure. Each theme is led by a Canadian researcher; the network has a program leader and also a researcher leading knowledge and technology transfer activities.
The three network themes are linked by a common goal: determining and recommending retrofit techniques for typically built critical structures so that these structures can remain totally functional after an earthquake. The multidisciplinary network approach will provide comprehensive tools to ascertain the seismic hazard; to identify and characterize the responses of deficient structures, and establish acceptability criteria and performance levels; and to develop cost-effective retrofit techniques.
These tools and techniques will provide all levels of government emergency planners and the insurance industry with more accurate information upon which to base emergency response plans and policies. Another important outcome of this network will be the training of highly qualified personnel to continue to improve safety and security for Canadians.