Canadian Underwriter

Who in Canada is least prepared for winter emergencies?

December 18, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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With winter weather already upon us, RSA Canada surveyed Canadians to check their state of readiness, asking who is prepared for winter emergencies such as major blizzards or extreme cold.

Most aren’t, the survey found.

Fifty-seven per cent of Canadians are unprepared for a winter emergency, such as a snow storm or extreme cold weather, the survey found.

Quebecers in the online study were the least prepared (61 per cent), while 60 per cent of British Columbians and 55 per cent of Ontario residents haven’t faced the harsh reality of snow just yet.

Climate change may be introducing wilder weather, but Canadians have responded with stoicism. Only one-third of Canadians surveyed reported having an emergency bag prepared; more than 40 per cent don’t even think they will even be impacted by severe winter weather.

The majority of Canadians surveyed who have experienced a winter weather-related emergency said they wished they had prepared an emergency bag:

  • 60 per cent wish they had prepped food, batteries, a blanket and/or an emergency plan
  • 20 per cent wish they had packed snow-related items, such as a shovel

Nearly a quarter of respondents admitted they didn’t even know how to build an emergency plan, or what essential items to put in an emergency kit. Looking to advise your clients about things to pack in an emergency kit?  Here are five things to consider:


Personal needs

Stock 3-5 days’ worth of food and water (2-litres per day, per person), non-perishable food items, a manual can opener, flashlight, extra batteries, cash, extra clothes and blankets.


People and Pets

Include a copy of your household emergency plan, medical history and contact information for your doctor and vet.



Keep medication and medical equipment handy so you can put them into your emergency bag at a moment’s notice.



Make sure your passport is accessible and keep copies other important documents, like your homeowners’ insurance policy, in your bag.


Priceless items

Make copies of important photos and add them into the bag. Ensure other important memorabilia is within reach.


The survey, based on 1,000 online responses, was conducted by Google Consumer Surveys from Nov. 24, 2017 through Nov. 28, 2017. The sample included a national adult internet population with a Root Mean Square Error (deviation) of 4.3 per cent.