A 9.0-magnitude earthquake off Canada's west coast would cause a loss of almost 75 billion Canadian dollars (71.8 billion U.S. dollars), shows a new study released Tuesday.
The study was commissioned by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), whose member companies cover approximately 90 percent of the private property and casualty insurance market in the country.
In a study, researchers modeled two earthquake events, one in the western province of British Columbia and the other in the eastern Ontario/Quebec region. About 40 percent of Canadians live in the two areas.
The western-scenario analysis showed that a 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the west coast would cause a loss of almost 75 billion Canadian dollars (71.8 billion U.S. dollars).
In the eastern scenario, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake near Quebec City would inflict an estimated economic loss of almost 61 billion Canadian dollars (58.4 billion U.S. dollars).
"Events of this magnitude have a domino effect on the Canadian economy triggered by property damage, supply chain interruption, loss of services, infrastructure failure and business interruption," IBC President Don Forgeron said.
Noting that mitigation measures such as more resilient building and infrastructure can reduce economic losses by a third or more, Forgeron called for "an integrated preparatory approach" that combines efforts of insurers, the government and the public.
About 4,000 earthquakes are recorded in Canada each year, most of which are too small to be felt, but some are large. In the past three centuries, there have been at least 24 earthquakes that were widely felt in Canada, according to the study.