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Earthquake Risk Modeling in Canada: From Knowledge to Action


Dec 18, 2019

OpenQuake workshop participants, London, Ontario, Canada 2019

A total of 78 individuals, 28 of whom joined online, participated in the OpenQuake workshop held in London, Ontario, Canada from November 6th to 7th. Western University hosted the event in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the GEM Foundation, the UWO Good Vibrations and Excitations Research Facility and the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR).


The 2-day modeling training workshop, led by GEM’s Catalina Yepes and Anirudh Rao, and NRCan’s Murray Journeay and Tiegan Hobbs, explored analytic capabilities and use of the OpenQuake suite for the analysis of earthquake risk and the evaluation of risk reduction strategies.


GEM risk scientists introduced OpenQuake and guided the group in setting up and running earthquake risk scenarios for the Charleevoix and Montreal regions, followed by probabilistic risk assessment for the Quebec Metropolitan Community. Michal Kolaj from NRCan presented the scientific updates proposed in the forthcoming National Seismic Hazard Model for the 2020 National Building Code of Canada (NBCC), and its implementation in OpenQuake. Murray Journeay presented the national earthquake risk model for Canada which is slated for public release in Spring 2020. Murray also touched on how NRCan Science is implementing socio-economic vulnerability and resilience indicators in Canada’s risk models.


Participants expressed overwhelming satisfaction on the training contents and approach. Hema Shandeep Sharma of UWO said, “In just one day, we’ve already learned so much about seismic hazard assessment using OpenQuake”.


The training sessions were designed for risk modelers working in areas of both fundamental and applied science - and practitioners who are interested in using the outputs of risk assessments to inform disaster resilience planning at local and regional scales in Canada.


The OpenQuake training workshop in Western University is the fifth this year, reaching a total of more than 250 individuals. The four other training workshops were conducted in Nepal, India, Turkey and Serbia. GEM conducts regular training on OpenQuake for seismic hazard and risk assessments.


For more information on GEM’s OpenQuake training workshops, please contact and


Insights gained through quantitative earthquake risk modeling are foundational to seismic design and disaster risk reduction planning at all levels of decision making. OpenQuake is a collaborative earthquake hazard and risk-modeling suite developed by the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation used during workshop exercises.


Canada joined the GEM Foundation as a public sector partner in 2017 and is working with researchers and practitioners from across the public, academic and private sectors to advance capabilities for catastrophic risk modeling and to co-develop a National Earthquake Risk Profile that will establish a base of evidence to help inform and empower disaster resilience planning initiatives in the public domain.


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