Canadian Underwriter

Winter storms, communications failure top list of business interruptions over past 5 years

May 13, 2019   by FirstOnSite Restoration

MISSISSAUGA, ON, May 13, 2019/insPRESS/ – With Business Continuity Awareness Week underway, a survey of Canadian mid-sized businesses took the pulse of managers, owners and executives to find out what types of disasters they had encountered, and what their level of preparedness they felt they had in place.

The 2019 Business Continuity Survey – a poll of 500 businesses – was conducted between May 8-10 by Angus Reid Global for FirstOnSite Restoration, a Canadian company that has responded to every catastrophic event across the country over recent years.

When asked “has your business been interrupted by a disaster in the past five years” – winter storms and communication failure were the two highest culprits. One third of respondents had seen their business interrupted by a winter storm and one third had also seen business interruption by communications failure (server down for extended period, telco outage, etc.).

Here are the reasons Canadian business were interrupted over the past five years:

  • Winter storms (36%)
  • Communications failure (35%)
  • Mechanical flooding (8%)
  • Natural flooding (9%)
  • Fire (8%)
  • Wildfires (5%)
  • Hurricane or tornado (3%)
  • Earthquake (1%)

Major incidents can include anything from wildfires to full-scale floods, ice storms and hurricanes,said Bill Fender, SVP Commercial Property Portfolios
at FirstOnSite Restoration.
However, it doesn’t have to be weather related to take a business offline.”

When asked why their business is not more prepared to deal with future emergencies or disasters, the results were split:

  • One-in-four businesses (26%) say that their business is fully prepared to deal with future emergencies or disasters
  • One-in-four businesses (26%) also responded that emergencies or disasters weren’t 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

How often do you review your business continuity plan?

Once every year is the most common interval that businesses review their business continuity plan (30%) followed by every few years (14%), more than once per year (8%), and surprisingly, never (6%).

More than four-in-10 businesses either don’t have a business continuity plan (19%) or don’t know if they have one (24%).

Brand protection

More than one in five businesses have brand protection (21%) included in their business crisis management plan. Another 17 per cent would pay a premium to ensure their business is protected.

Preparation and the three types of plans

Any scenario can submerge and take a business offline. 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.

  1. Before: Companies need a business continuity plan to provide clarity on just that – remaining operational during and after an event.
  2. During: They also require an emergency response plan that outlines the actions to take in the initial minutes of an emergency, which is critical to help a business respond effectively.
  3. After: Finally, businesses need a disaster recovery plan to help return to operations as soon as safely possible.

“Disaster plans, once only required for government, are now being insisted upon by insurers and customers,” said Fender. “But the impetus should be self-serving. No company wants to be offline for any amount of time.”

About the 2019 Business Continuity Survey – An Angus Reid poll commissioned by FirstOnSite Restoration

From May 8 to May 10, 2019, an online survey was conducted among a representative sample of 504 Canadian businesses who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, the sample plan would carry a margin of error of +/- 4.4%, 19 times out of 20 (a 95% confidence interval).

About FirstOnSite Restoration

FirstOnSite Restoration Limited is the leading independent Canadian disaster restoration services provider, providing remediation, restoration and reconstruction services nationwide, and for the U.S. large loss and commercial market. With approximately 1,000 employees, more than 35 locations, 24/7 emergency service and a commitment to customer service, FirstOnSite proudly serves the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

In May 2016, FirstOnSite joined forces with U.S.-based Interstate Restoration, expanding its resource base, and extending its customer service offering and collectively becoming the second largest restoration service provider in North America.

For more information visit: or call 1.877.778. 6731, and follow @firstonsite on Twitter at

Press Contact:

Dana Sharman
416-640-5525 x 242

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