Official estimates suggest that there is a 30 per cent probability of a major earthquake impacting Canada over the next 50 years. At current levels of capitalization, Canada is not prepared to deal with the macroeconomic and fiscal consequences of a large earthquake, which could cause widespread failures among insurance companies and trigger a domino effect in the financial sector.
Macroeconomic Impacts and Systemic Financial Risk: Canada’s Earthquake Risk analyzes some of the research results of such an event. Despite reconstruction efforts, nearly 450 person-years of employment would be lost, GDP growth would be halved in the short term, and real GDP would decline by nearly $100 billion over the medium to long term. Taxpayers would be left to bear the cost of unexpected budget deficits—totalling nearly $90 billion federally and $35 billion provincially—to support reconstruction and boost the economy.