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The Canadian Disaster Database

The Canadian Disaster Database (CDD) contains detailed disaster information on more than 1000 natural, technological and conflict events (excluding war) that have happened since 1900 at home or abroad and that have directly affected Canadians. The CDD tracks "significant disaster events" which conform to the Emergency Management Framework for Canada definition of a "disaster" and meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • 10 or more people killed
  • 100 or more people affected/injured/infected/evacuated or homeless
  • an appeal for national/international assistance
  • historical significance
  • significant damage/interruption of normal processes such that the community affected cannot recover on its own

The database describes where and when a disaster occurred, the number of injuries, evacuations, and fatalities, as well as a rough estimate of the costs.  As much as possible, the CDD contains primary data that is valid, current and supported by reliable and traceable sources, including federal institutions, provincial/territorial governments, non-governmental organizations and media sources.  Data is updated and reviewed on a semi-annual basis.

Geospatial

A geospatial mapping component has been added to the CDD, which enables users to define their search of the disaster database by using a spatially-defined area.  It also displays query results charted across a map.  Geospatial disaster data contained in the CDD can be exported through KML or GeoRSS feeds.  Data from both the Classic CDD and the Geospatial CDD can be downloaded into report formats.


Each data field has been defined. Below is a list of data fields and their definitions.

CDD Data Fields and Descriptions
Data Field Description
Disaster Type The type of disaster (e.g. flood, earthquake, etc.) that occurred.
Date of Event The date a specific event took place.
Specific Location The city, town or region where a specific event took place.
Description of Event A brief description of a specific event, including pertinent details that may not be captured in other data fields (e.g. amount of precipitation, temperatures, neighbourhoods, etc.)
Fatalities The number of people killed due to a specific event.
Injured/Infected The number of people injured or infected due to a specific event.
Evacuees The number of individuals evacuated by the government of Canada due to a specific event.
Latitude & Longitude The exact geographic location of a specific event.
Province/Territory The province or territory where a specific event took place.
Estimated Total Cost A roll-up of all the costs listed within the financial data fields for a specific event.
DFAA Payments The amount, in dollars, paid out by Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (Public Safety Canada) due to a specific event.
Insurance Payments The amount, in dollars, paid out by insurance companies due to a specific event.
Provincial/Territorial Costs/Payments The amount, in dollars, paid out by a Province or Territory due to a specific event.
Utility Costs/Losses The amount of people whose utility services (power, water, etc.) were interrupted/affected by a specific event.
Magnitude A measure of the size of an earthquake, related to the amount of energy released.
Other Federal Institution Costs The amount, in dollars, paid out by other federal institutions.

Reference Table for Symbols and Definitions

Normalization of costs

The CDD displays cost data in the dollar amount of the year that the event took place or the year a specific payment was made.  A conversion tool is available for users to convert this "raw" data into the dollar amount in effect for the year of their choosing to determine whether costs have increased or decreased over time, or whether preventative/mitigative measures have helped to lower the cost of disasters.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is used to normalize the financial data because it is widely used and accepted.  However, for events that occurred before 1914, the 1914 CPI must be used.  Also, as the CPI cannot be applied to the current year, users should use the year previous to the current year to normalize cost data.  

Mapping credits

GeoBase
Public Safety Canada
NaturalEarthData.org
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
United States Geological Survey
United States Census Bureau

Disclaimer

Where there has been no finding of fact by a court of law in criminal, civil or administrative proceeding, the facts set out in this database are alleged facts.

The contents of the database undergo constant revision as new disasters occur and more information about past disasters becomes available.  Cost and loss data in particular are subject to regular update since there are currently no standardized guidelines for collecting this type of information.  Financial data sometimes takes years to finalize.  Please note that estimates are provided in the interest of keeping the database current.

Contacting the Canadian Disaster Database Secretariat

Should you have information on an event, or have questions or concerns, please contact us via e-mail at cdd-bdc@ps-sp.gc.ca.