Ottawa seeks reports on how to prepare for future crises

The federal government's Defence Research and Development Canada is seeking research on the next calamity and how its effects can be minimized.

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The federal government is looking beyond COVID-19 to prepare for the next large-scale calamity — be it another pandemic, a tsunami or cyberattack.

In a notice posted today, Defence Research and Development Canada seeks proposals for studies, technology trials and demonstrations to identify promising ideas to lessen the severity of potential catastrophes.

The agency, an arm of National Defence, is interested in ways of addressing "high impact, low frequency" events — disasters that don't happen often but have deep and long-lasting effects when they do occur.

The notice says these fall somewhere between relatively common events such as seasonal floods and highly improbably risks such as an asteroid hitting Earth.

They include a major earthquake, industrial disaster or large-scale terrorist attack but also unforeseen threats posed by adoption of new technologies.

The notice flags interest in two issues highlighted by COVID-19 — the desire for contactless and virtual services, and the need to bolster fragile supply chains, including the movement of goods across international borders.

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