British Columbia's 113-year-old legislature building would need a $250-million seismic upgrade to withstand a major earthquake, according to a five-year-old report released by the Speaker's office on Wednesday.
A significant earthquake could cause major damage and loss of life because the building lacks strength and stiffness against collapse, according to the report.
It says the unreinforced brick and masonry walls are brittle and will fracture; corrosion has been found in the frame, joints are failing and the copper roof is in poor condition.
The head of security, Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz, says the B.C. government would continue to function if a major earthquake hit the legislature because staff are trained and equipped to respond.
B.C. cabinet ministers insisted Wednesday they don't feel unsafe in the legislature.
Shirley Bond, the new minister for public safety, says the first priority for the government has been seismic upgrading of schools, many of which suffer similar vulnerabilities. It's a process that's still far from complete.
"The Speaker has been clear that there needs to be a look at what needs to be done here at the legislature and I'm very confident that over time that will be considered," Bond said.
The legislature was built for a cost of $923,000 between 1893 and 1898.