The newly-created Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness (OCIPEP) will lead consultations about to begin on developing a national disaster mitigation strategy. National Defence Minister Art Eggleton says the talks will center around reducing the risk and impact of disasters and will include the federal government, provinces and territories, and private sector and other non-governmental stakeholders. OCIPEP was formed earlier this year to carry out many of the functions of the former Emergency Preparedness Canada, and is headed by Margaret Purdy. At the time, Insititute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction executive director Paul Kovacs said the new body was a good step towards the insurance industry’s desire to see a national disaster reduction plan in place. Among the examples of disaster mitigation the government cites in its press release are upgrading building codes to withstand earthquakes and changing land zoning to avoid building in flood plains. Structural mitigation efforts, such as Manitoba’s Red River Floodway, are also cited. The first stage of consultations will address a framework for the strategy, the press release states.