Local Government Profile
Hazard and vulnerability profile
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.
Disaster Risk Reduction Activities
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
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
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
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
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
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.
The documents have been posted as received. The designations employed do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory or area, or of its authorities.