About Us

Background to the Project

The 2007 UN Global Risk Report notes that response capability development for rural, remote and coastal communities (RRC communities) has been minimal.A� In Canada and internationally, emergency planning and response investments for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) and all-hazard events are generally directed to urban centres. However, intentional/ unintentional attacks on humans, food, water supplies will directly impact rural, remote and coastal (RRC) communities. Additionally, CBRNE threats in urban centres will compromise RRC health care infrastructure through loss of supply systems and personnel.A� RRC communities have a triple jeopardy:A� fewer professional and financial resources, less emergency measures infrastructure, and they experience unique challenges created by geography, isolation and demographics.


In response to the social imperative for enhanced emergency planning in a�?forgotten communitiesa��, the Justice Institute of British Columbia, in consultation with project partners and communities, designed a suite of simple and effective indicators, tools, and resources for decision makers/practitioners to assess the capability and resiliency of rural health care systems and communities. This tool set was designed and pretested in two pilot and three field site rural communities. The JIBC team developed the Rural Disaster Resilience Planning Guide (RDRP) along with three tools:

  • Rural Resiliency Index (RRI)
  • Hazard Resilience Index (HRI)
  • Hazard Risk Assessment (HRA)

The tools were developed to enhance organizational all-hazards response planning. The bilingual training curricula, tools, and web-assisted networks will provide rural, remote and coastal (RRC) communities in Canada with fully operational protocols and resources to anticipate and mitigate risks.

The Rural Disaster Resilience Project (RDRP), launched in 2008, will strengthen the community disaster management and health system capabilities of rural, remote, and coastal communities (RRC) through community-based action research that informs and influences policy and practice.

The RDRP will achieve this through:

  • Knowledge exchange and dissemination
  • Community-based and collaborative action research
  • Capacity building
  • Development & piloting of an integrated resilience risk assessment & management framework
  • Development of accessible, relevant tools and curriculum
Why is the Project Important?

Disaster Resilience – the ability to survive and thrive in the face of uncertainty – is the foundation of rural life. It is also the cornerstone of effective emergency management across all phases of a disaster from preparedness through response and recovery. There is much to learn about resilience from RRC communities; their resilience is one of Canadaa��s biggest assets. At the same time, the emergency planning capacity of RRC is often constrained by a lack of resources and access to user-friendly risk mitigation planning tools and processes.

This community-centered research project is designed to capitalize on and learn from RRCsa�� expertise and knowledge while testing a unique approach to planning. The Project will promote the transformational capacity of RRC communities by encouraging them to enhance their disaster resilience in the face of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) and all-hazard threats – including infectious disease outbreaks and disasters resulting from climate change.

Core Project Team
Carol Amaratunga, (Principal Investigator from 2007 a�� 2011 (retired July 2011) and as Co-Investigator from 2011 to present)
Greg Anderson (Administrative Project Lead & Co-Principal Investigator from 2011 to 2012)
Ron Bowles (Co-Principal Investigator from 2011 to 2012)
Robin Cox (Co-Investigator and Research Lead)
Laurie Pearce (Co-Investigator)
Murray Journeay (Co-Investigator)
Colleen Vaughan (Co-Investigator)


Project Management and Administration

Dawn Ursuliak Terry Bodaly

Steering Committee Members

Ahmad Khorchid (CRTI, Psychosocial Portfolio Manager, CRTI Development Research Defence Department of National Defence)
Christine Burgess, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) (A/Project Champion – representing Sylvie Berube)
Monique St. Laurent (PHAC, Project Manager)
Jennifer Lew (PHAC, Deputy Project Manager)
Nicolas Palanque (PHAC Project Manager)
Christina Prasad (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)
Jo-Anne Stead (PHAC, Policy Analyst)


Robin Cox Marti Hamlen Ruth Legg Laurie Pearce Jennifer Pinette Chantel Smiechowski

Consultants and Researchers

Codee Bowe Anne Danielson Bethan Lloyd Alton Gervin
Siobhan Grey Rachel Gruhs Marti Hamlen Mike
Brian Kayes
John Liesch Catherine Luke Brenda Murphy Linda Myers Pharis Romero
Deborah Stiles Brian Swanton Erin Wanner Trudy Watts Gary Williams

Design and Development

Melanie Meyers Tannis Morgan Dennis Yip Michael Fabri

Project Partners

Our project partners come from many disciplines and research cultures – be it educational institutions to community organizations, Federal and Provincial Governments, to Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector.

Project partners contribute both monetary and in-kind resources to ensure the RDRP achieves its mission and objectives. Our project partners also contribute specific knowledge and expertise, as well as facilitating access to their extensive professional and scientific networks.

As a�?knowledge purveyorsa�� on the dynamics of resilient communities, our project partners will share their experiences, insight and research findings with decision makers in their particular constituencies. In short, they will help to shape and influence program development and public policy to foster healthy and resilient communities.

Our Partners include the following: