Message from the Canadian Dam Association regarding COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause great disruption to the world, and our personal and professional lives, the Canadian Dam Association remains committed to serving its members and the Canadian dam industry to the greatest extent possible.  In these unprecedented times, the safety of our communities and our colleagues is at the forefront of our activities.

CDA’s Board of Directors met on March 24 to receive a briefing from the Executive Committee on the current and potential impacts of the pandemic on the Association. Highlights of the report are:

All in-person gatherings scheduled between now and April 30 have been cancelled or postponed. This includes Board of Directors and committee meetings, a regional social/networking event, and a professional development workshop. The 2020 Annual Meeting of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) in India has also been postponed until the end of September.

Despite cancellation of in-person meetings, we are using remote communications to keep in-touch, continue collaborations and progress work.

CDA 2020 Annual Conference
At this time, we remain optimistic that the Winnipeg October 2020 conference will be held as planned. However, because the situation is evolving, the Conference Committee is developing options with the Executive Committee and will be making recommendations to the Board of Directors at a later date. 

Financial impacts
Because of the Association’s business cycle, the impact on revenue and expenses in the remainder of this fiscal year (to June 30, 2020) is expected to be minimal.

Financial impacts are expected for the 2020-2021 fiscal year if the 2020 Annual Conference is postponed. At this time, operations are continuing as routinely as possible, thus expenses related to member services, support for committees, member communications and office overhead are largely unaffected. 

CDA does not have any holdings in equities; therefore, CDA’s financial reserves have not been impacted by the steep decline in the equity markets.

Non-financial impacts 
Much of the work of the Association is unaffected because we already often use virtual meetings and collaborate remotely documents. Committees are continuing to work on the activities within their terms of reference.

The CDA office remains open and available to provide services to members. Mail and courier shipments are so far unaffected.

A few final words
As science-based professionals, we know the importance of data and providing recommendations based on information and knowledge. The CDA’s leadership urges everyone to comply with the latest guidance and directives of your respective governmental bodies and public health officials.

To our colleagues charged with ensuring the safety of dam infrastructure during these challenging times, we appreciate your special dedication to your employers, clients and broader communities. We stand ready to support you.

For those not involved in critical operations, we all continue to have a role to play in doing the work that others rely upon. Our contributions to our communities and the economy remain valuable and – within the parameters set by public health officials – we should endeavour to continue to make them.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments about CDA and our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact me at

Catrin Bryan, M.Sc., P.Eng., PE