Local Government Profile
Saanich (British Columbia) - Canada
Mayor Frank Leonard
Website of the city : www.saanich.ca/
Size : 103.44 Km2 sq km
Population : 2008 - 108,265
Part Of : Canada
Hazards : Cold Wave, Earthquake, Epidemic & Pandemic, Flood, Wild Fire

Community Disaster Risk Reduction

The District of Saanich is a municipality on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. It is located north of the provincial capital, Victoria. It has a population of 108,265 people, making it the most populous municipality on Vancouver Island, and the seventh most populous in the province. Saanich is part of Greater Victoria and a member municipality of the Capital Regional District.

Saanich shares the risk of an earthquake as do many similar cities around the Pacific rim. While the community takes pride in its integrated urban/rural interface, there is a possibility of disaster occuring from forest fires. Additionally, as a modern city and next to international shipping routes, terrorism, hazardous material spills and other human-induced disasters cannot be ruled out. Of note, Saanich sits in the region of highest probabilty for an earthquake in Canada, according to the experts.
Here is an overview of progress by the District of Saanich on meeting the Ten Essentials. You can learn more about their initiative on each essential in the documentations attached.

Essential 1: : Risk reducing organization and coordination in place
Progress and achievements – The District works with Neighbourhood Associations, service organizations, sports groups, churches and businesses to support and strengthen the community. First responders are organized through the British Columbia Emergency Response Management System. The Emergency Program liaises with the business community on a regular basis to improve communication and consult on municipal issues related to economic development. While early warning systems are primarily provided by the province, warning information is relayed through community responders.
Plans – Building stakeholder engagement to increase preparedness and build a more resilient community. Development of business recovery volunteer trainers through the local Chamber of Commerce and Business Improvement Association.

Essential 2: Budget assigned
Progress and achievements – The District has funded an Emergency Program and has provided this office with their own line-item budget. Private sector incentives exist in the form of insurance rebates and reductions and property value increases. Additionally, other levels of government (Provincial and Federal) occasionally provide funding that Saanich has, and will, take advantage of.
Plans – Redouble efforts to find financial resources (will consider the use of graduate students to apply for potential grants) and ensure approprite financial emphasis placed on most vulnerable. Investigate utilizing faith-based communities to reach out to their constituents to promote resiliency.

Essential 3: Risk assessment prepared
Progress and achievements – The District of Saanich has a solid understanding of the hazards and risks the community faces. The results of this knowledge are incorporated into urban planning. Risk assessment data has also recently been compiled as part of a comprehensive regional initiative.
– Expand use of GIS mapping system to include current hazard mapping, risk assesments, and other key data that is important for emergency management activities. The District of Saanich is currently participating in a regional risk assessment with neigbouring jurisdictions.
-Consideration of developing risk tolerance criteria to help the community and District with decision making.

Essential 4: Investment in risk reducing infrastructure
Progress and achievements – The District of Saanich has made substantive efforts to ensure that critical infrastructure (CI) is addressed within the community and has worked to indentify, map and assess the community's most valuable assets with plans to continue this work over time. The District has hired a consultant to address the issue and has recently completed a climate change adaptation plan.
Plans – Continue development of a inventory of CI witin the control of the municipality and address any potiential supply chain issues for CI and build relationships through participation in the National Stategy and Action Plan for CI. Include external critical infrastructure failure as one criteria within emergency management drills or exercises to ensure that municipal systems and their operators are involved and have input into future emergency management plans.

Essential 5: Safe schools and health facilities
Progress and achievements – Schools and health facilities are regionally managed and outside of municipal control. Nevertheless, Saanich has undertaken multiple disaster training and liaison activities within both systems. As part of their core mandate, however, the Saanich Fire Department routinely inspects all public and private facilities managed by the education and health systems. The Saanich Emergency Program Officer is the vice chair of a regional emergency planning committee that includes both the School Districts and Health Authority.
Plans – Enhance collaboration efforts with district school and hospital officials to access funding to make schools and hospitals seismically safe. Work collaboratively with stakeholders to access resources needed to enhance emergency evacuation capacity at medical facilities. A regional School Districts emergency preparedness working group was recently created to enhance emergency preparedness within the regional School Districts. Saanich was a key stakeholder in the development of such a working group.

Essential 6: Risk-compliant building regulation and land use applied
Progress and achievements – The community has in place and enforces, realistic land-use planning regulations. Additonal, legally binding building regulations (for residentail, commercial, and public properties) ensure the safety of new construction. Low-income families can take advantage of community-funded housing support programs which are maintained in accordance with local regulations.
Plans – Increase collaboration among the different departments within the District of Saanich. Increase the awareness of disaster management issues in every department and identify their role in risk reduction and recovery.

Essential 7 – Education programmes and training in place
Progress and achievements – While the District of Saanich is not legislatively responsible for management of the schools within its borders, it has shown considerable initiative in establishing a continuing disaster and emergency management training presence in the school system.
Plans – Expansion of Emergency Program Planning Working Group's membership and manadate to include additional community stakeholders. Promote hazard awareness talks/drills within all healthcare and educational institutions.

Essential 8 – Ecosystems and natural buffers protected
Progress and achievements – The community has undertaken an extensive review of climate change adaptation measures as well as supporting sustainable development initiatives. Within Canadian law, environmental protection is often a provincial or federal responsibility, however, the district takes environmental stewardship seriously and actively enforces all relevant environmental legislation.
Plans – Investigate forming a multi-disciplinary working group to included Planning, Environmental and Emergency Programs to improve collaboration on existing and emerging environmental and disaster risk reduction activities recognizing that disaster resiliency is directly related to sustainability.

Essential 9 – Early warning systems installed
Progress and achievements – The community has a number of early warning systems, many of which are the responsibility of other levels of government. Individuals, institutions, and community groups regularly conduct drills and receive training on what to do in an emergency. Saanich's Emergency Response and Recovery Plan includes detailed procedures for E vacuations and Public Warnings.
Plans – Investigate the use of enhanced Emergency Management technologies to provide a consolidated early warning system.

Essential 10 – Needs-based (survivors) reconstruction
Progress and achievements – The community is commited to working with survivors during the recovery phase of any disaster and will ensure their needs are its primary concern. Saanich has a plan for a Community Disaster Recovery Organization which includes specific roles, functions and responsibilities.
Plans – Furthering the plan to develop a Recovery Assistance Centre. A strategic initiative for the Saanich Emergency Program includes the develop of a standing, community based disaster recovery committee.