Keywords: Canada, CBRN, gender, risk management, risk perception, chemical terrorism, biological terrorism, radiological terrorism, nuclear terrorism, terrorist threat
Differential perception of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism in Canada
As part of the Canadian national public survey of perceived chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism threat and preparedness, 1502 Canadians were recently interviewed by telephone. This paper presents a descriptive examination of perceptions of the occurrence of terrorist bombings and CBRN terrorism in Canada on a number of evaluative dimensions, including perceived likelihood, uncertainty, severity, personal impact and ability to cope should such an event occur. Overall, Canadians perceived that the occurrence of terrorism in Canada was associated with serious consequences and would have a great impact on their lives. However, they also perceived that such an event was unlikely to occur. Terrorist bombings were perceived as the most likely to occur but were perceived as having the least severe consequences. The converse was found for perceptions of nuclear terrorist attacks. Perceptions varied by demographic background, with gender and education representing important determinants. The implications of findings for risk management and communication are discussed.