Earthquake Early Warning System in Canada to Be Enhanced Through Collaboration With Tel Aviv University

News release

June 27, 2023                                                  Vancouver, British Columbia                                        Natural Resources Canada                   

Across Canada, natural disasters such as floods, landslides, wildfires and earthquakes affect the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Canadians. The Government of Canada, along with provinces, territories and Indigenous partners are committed to working together to strengthen mitigation, preparedness and response efforts to natural disasters like earthquakes and ensure the safety of everyone who lives in at-risk regions of Canada.

Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced funding for Tel Aviv University (TAU) to develop software aimed at improving Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) systems that include arrays of sensor stations. This announcement is part of a suite of initiatives being brought forward by the Government of Canada to strengthen the safety, security and resilience of Canada’s emergency readiness infrastructure. Tel Aviv University was chosen for this project as it is the recognized world leader in the field of small-aperture seismic arrays that can improve EEW performance for cross-border and offshore events and is a responsible choice for the safety of Canadians, given Tel Aviv’s global leadership in this field.

Building on NRCan’s long history as the authoritative source for earthquake information for Canada, NRCan’s EEW system will provide notification of earthquakes through a network of sensors and alerting systems for at-risk areas around the country. The EEW system provides seconds to minutes of notice before strong shaking starts, warnings that can help reduce injuries, deaths and property losses.

The EEW system was developed by Tel Aviv University in collaboration with SeismicAI, an Israeli high tech company specializing in EEW technology. SeismicAI has an exclusive licence for the system and has successfully deployed and tested it across the world. This project with Tel Aviv University aims to enhance the performance of EEW systems, particularly in coastal and border regions where traditional EEW sensor station grids are challenging to deploy. These regions may experience high seismic risks, which require tailored approaches to ensure effective early warning.

The development of array-based EEW methodologies for use with the internationally utilized USGS EEW software system will help address the limitations faced in coastal and border regions, where traditional EEW sensor station grids are challenging to deploy. By incorporating Tel Aviv University’s methodologies, the enhanced EEW system may provide more comprehensive coverage and earlier alerts, allowing people in at-risk regions more time to take proactive measures, such as “drop, cover, and hold on,” before the arrival of strong shaking from earthquakes.

With integrated innovative technologies and methodologies, an enhanced EEW system will provide more accurate and timely alerts, enabling individuals, communities and critical infrastructure operators to take proactive measures and minimize the impact of seismic events. 


“We are pleased to bring Tel Aviv University’s world-leading expertise to Canada, helping us gain access to the earliest, most accurate alerts for earthquakes and tsunamis. Canadians’ safety is the Government of Canada’s top priority; today is just one of the ways in which we’re investing to keep Canadians safe.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Natural Resources 

“We are excited to be collaborating with Tel Aviv University and Natural Resources Canada. Using this innovative alert technology, people in areas covered by EEWS in Canada will gain access to the earliest, most accurate alerts for earthquakes and tsunamis.”

Benny Sasson
CEO, SeismicAI 

“Of all the earthquake mitigation actions that may be considered for Canada, the array-based earthquake early warning is the most practical and most cost-effective one. I truly believe that the setting up of such a system is an important step toward building earthquake-resilient communities in Canada.”

Alon Ziv
Professor, Tel Aviv University

Quick facts

  • There are approximately 5,000 earthquakes across Canada each year. Earthquakes can damage infrastructure, destroy buildings, cause power outages, displace communities and even lead to fatalities.

  • Earthquakes in Canada are most common along the Pacific Coast of British Columbia and in the Yukon Territory, with approximately 20 percent also occurring along the St. Lawrence River and Ottawa River valleys. 

  • Researchers at Tel Aviv University have unique expertise in the area of array processing for earthquake early warning as demonstrated by their publication record and through an earlier joint project with NRCan, using earthquake data from the Charlevoix region of Quebec, in which TAU’s software showed very promising results. This research will be of broad international application as it is of common interest to Canadian, U.S., and Israeli EEW communities, who all face similar challenges at the edges of sensor networks.

  • Starting in 2024, people in the highest at-risk regions of Canada will be able to receive an emergency notification or alert that an earthquake has occurred and that they should take immediate steps to protect themselves and minimize damage to property. 

  • It’s important that Canadians learn about the risks in their region and take steps to prepare themselves to respond. Wherever you are when an earthquake starts, take cover immediately. Move a few steps to a nearby safe place if need be. Stay there until the shaking stops. If you are indoors: “drop, cover, and hold on.”

Associated links


Natural Resources Canada
Media Relations

Keean Nembhard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources

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