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How prepared are Canadian businesses in the face of disaster?

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Small Business Week is soon approaching (October 20 – 26) which means it’s time to reflect and celebrate the business leaders and entrepreneurs that play an important role in the everyday lives of Canadians. This also means examining if businesses have adequate preparation in case of emergencies. A poll conducted of 500 Canadian mid-sized businesses surveyed managers, business owners and executives to find out what types of disasters they had encountered, and what the level of preparedness they felt they had in place.

The 2019 Business Continuity  Survey was conducted between May 8-10 of this year by FirstOnSite Restoration, a Canadian-based restoration company that has responded to every catastrophic event across the country over recent years. When respondents were asked if their business been interrupted by a disaster in the past five years, winter storms (36%) and communication failure (35%) were found to be the two highest culprits.

What is interrupting businesses?

Over the past five years, in addition to winter storms and communication failure, natural disasters such as flooding (9%), wildfires (5%) and hurricanes or tornadoes (3%) were highlighted as interferences to businesses.

Lack of disaster preparation

Despite these common and unpredictable interruptions, only one-in-three businesses (34%)claimed they have business interruption insurance. When asked why their business is not more prepared to deal with future emergencies or disasters, the results were split. One-in-four (26%) responded that emergencies or disasters were not an urgent concern for their business. 16 per cent responded that their business wasn’t yet willing to spend time or money on this. One-in-10 answered that their business has been putting this off, and one-in-10 also answered that they didn’t know enough about disaster preparedness.


Only one-in-four (26%) believe that their business is fully prepared to deal with future emergencies or disasters.

How to become better prepared

A big factor in being prepared is ensuring you have an effective and up to date disaster recovery and business continuity plan that is reviewed yearly. Most respondents agreed and stated they review their business continuity plan once a year (30%), followed by every few years (14%), more than once per year (8%), and never (6%). Surprisingly, more than four-in-10 businesses either do not have a business continuity plan (19%) or don’t know if they have one (24%).

Businesses of all sizes are not immune to interruptions whether weather-related or otherwise. Recognizing the risks is a vital first step, but for companies to be properly prepared, they need planning to protect them before, during, and after an event.


Margo Malowney, VP Marketing & Communications

FirstOnSite Restoration

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