4. Expected outcomes for Canadians

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This S&T Strategy identifies several priorities, directions and specific actions, but what is strategically important is their combined effect in contributing to NRCan’s strategic outcomes, Government of Canada priorities and results for Canadians.

From this perspective, this S&T Strategy will deliver a strong value proposition in terms of the following outcomes:

  • an integrated, relevant and applied S&T knowledge base on natural resources that is accessible to those best positioned to draw new economic and social value from it
  • opportunities opened up and taken up for building new S&T collaborative arrangements, partnerships and networks among national and international innovation system players
  • a world-class S&T that protects and advances the public interest in health, safety and security, the quality of the environment, and the social and economic well-being of Canadians
  • an S&T governance and accountability system that promotes the integration of S&T, policy and program decision making at all levels and is geared to fully meet the demands and expectations of Canadians
  • a modern public service employer serving the public interest through the knowledge, experience and professionalism of its workforce today while attracting and developing a talented workforce for tomorrow
  • a science-based organization that speaks with a confident, unified and trusted voice on natural resource issues, based on its well-founded reputation for S&T leadership and excellence

Fighting fire – with S&T

The Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System – developed by NRCan – is arguably the best in the world.

Although it is a national system, designed to protect people and property and to facilitate the efficient and economical deployment of wildfire-fighting resources across Canada, it is – or adaptations of it are – used in countries around the world, including the United States.
NRCan researchers have been studying forest fires for almost 100 years. Their research has led to – and continues to develop – leading-edge tools and technologies that accurately predict, evaluate, monitor and report on forest fire activity and/or its probability.

A continuing effort to advance and refine that capacity is a key to combatting the projected increased fire activity in many parts of the country that will likely result from climate change.
Although fire is a vital ecological process that influences the landscape and rejuvenates forests by generating new growth, it can also pose a serious threat to public safety and the forest resource.

In recent years, governments in Canada – federal, provincial and territorial – have spent close to $1 billion a year collectively to fight forest fires.

Making NRCan’s knowledge available to forest managers and citizens so that risks can be identified, understood and addressed helps ensure public safety while also seeing that public funds are used effectively.

Canada’s fire danger rating system is also a cornerstone of the Global Early Warning System for Wildland Fire now being developed under United Nations auspices. Relying heavily on Canadian leadership, technology and expertise, the global system will provide, as does Canada’s, current and forecasted fire danger information.

The “forecasted” information allows fire and land managers to plan and implement fire management strategies in advance, while “current” information allows for prioritized deployment of fire suppression resources.

When you feel the earth move . . .

The safety and security of Canadians is paramount to NRCan.

The department has a commitment to help minimize loss of life and damage to communities and infrastructure from earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, landslides and geomagnetic storms and to enhance disaster response preparedness. NRCan is the Canadian organization responsible for undertaking assessments of these geological hazards, based on its leading-edge, sound science.

The department provides expertise and information that help shape an assortment of policies and decisions. In terms of earthquakes, contributions range from input toward the seismic provisions in the National Building Code of Canada to information on designing critical infrastructure, such as an oil pipeline or a nuclear power plant, or locating emergency response buildings.

Southwestern British Columbia and the corridors along the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers in Ontario and Quebec are heavily populated and face the threat of large earthquakes. Using NRCan’s science-based expertise to plan and build helps diminish the vulnerability of Canadians in these areas.

Across the country, in cities where there are significant earthquake risks – Québec, Montréal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Victoria – specialized maps are drafted by NRCan and its partners. Relevant to large buildings and infrastructure projects, they show areas of higher hazard to help guide planning.

In British Columbia, NRCan provided BC Hydro with key earthquake hazard information for a multimillion-dollar assessment of hydroelectric dam safety. NRCan also assisted the Province in a program to retrofit schools to make them safer in the event of a quake.

Nationwide, NRCan plays a fundamental role in helping Canadians build and live safely.

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