Vulnerability, Canadian Disaster Law and ‘The Beast’
42 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 23, 2018
This article is the first step in a major research project on Canadian disaster law. As such, the article's first objective is to map the terrain of the law in Canada that governs disasters. To provide context for this exercise in mapping, the article focuses on the circumstances surrounding the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire ('the Beast'). Focusing on the 'the Beast' also gives rise to the article's second objective: a critical examination of the ways in which Canadian disaster law fails to reflect foundational social science research on disaster harm. The article argues that the current framework of Canadian law lacks nuance in its understanding of vulnerability and fails to identify and address communities that are especially vulnerable to disaster harm. It also argues that the implementation of the relevant law to disasters fails to adequately incorporate legal mechanisms that can connect disaster law with the underlying drivers of disaster vulnerability. The outcome is that Canadian disaster law currently leaves Canadians unnecessarily susceptible to disaster harm.
Keywords: disaster law, emergency law, emergency powers, vulnerability
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