Flood Insurance / National Relocation Action Plan
Branch / Agency: Public Safety Canada
- Flooding continues to be the most frequent and costly natural disaster facing Canada, causing over $1 billion in direct damage to homes, property and infrastructure annually.
- Many Canadians live in areas at high risk of flooding and cannot access the insurance they need to protect themselves against the financial impacts that a flood can have on their families and homes.
- In light of the growing threat to the safety of Canadians due to climate change and continued urbanization in high-risk flood areas, the Government of Canada is moving forward with a number of measures to create a more resilient and sustainable Canada.
- Part of this effort is taking steps to create a new, low-cost national flood insurance program to protect homeowners at high risk of flooding and without adequate insurance protection, as well as develop a national action plan to assist homeowners with potential relocation for those at the highest risk of repeat flooding.
- This objective was first noted in my mandate letter and that of my colleague, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen.
- To fulfill this mandate objective, the Government of Canada will be standing up an interdisciplinary Task Force, bringing together experts from the federal, provincial and territorial governments, as well as the insurance industry, to examine the viability and best options for a low-cost insurance program and a national action plan on potential relocation, with the goal of reporting back on options appropriate for the Canadian context.
- Funding to support the work of this Task Force was announced through the Economic and Fiscal Snapshot 2020.
- These efforts are aligned with the Emergency Management Strategy for Canada. Through the Strategy, the Government of Canada is committed to working with provincial and territorial partners, municipalities and Indigenous representatives to better identify, plan for and reduce the impact of weather-related emergencies and natural disasters.
Natural disasters are increasing in frequency and severity. Flooding is the most common and costly occurring natural hazard in Canada, causing over $1 billion in direct damage to homes, property and infrastructure and affecting thousands of Canadians each year.
Yet, over a million homes are uninsured against flooding because owners cannot access adequate insurance to protect themselves against the risk of flooding or cannot avail themselves of sufficient resources to relocate to safer areas. Instead, these homeowners must rely on their own resources or post-disaster financial assistance from governments or not-for-profit groups, which too often, are insufficient for a full recovery of damaged-related financial losses.
The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, as minister responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, have received a mandate from the Prime Minister to create a new, low-cost national flood insurance program to protect homeowners at high risk of flooding and without adequate insurance protection as well as a national relocation action plan to assist homeowners with potential relocation for those at the highest risk of recurrent flooding.
This mandate commitment will be fulfilled by the creation of a Public Safety Canada-led task force on flood insurance and relocation. It is intended that the task force will bring together representatives from federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) governments and the insurance industry with a view to examine alternative viable options for the insurance program and potential elements of a relocation action plan. Details on the task force (e.g., mandate, composition, timelines) and planned approach are to be announced later this Fall.
This initiative will build on the work the Advisory Council on Flooding (ACF), set up in 2018, to examine the technical and financial impacts of floods. Options were developed for managing the financial costs of high risk properties, including drawing from international models such as the UK, and to collaborate on the development of a flood risk data portal, and improve information sharing across all jurisdictions. The Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation will complete this work by building the parameters of alternative viable insurance arrangements and relocation measures that would support decision-making on an insurance program and national action plan on relocation.
Related Flood Risk Work
Announced in the Economic and Fiscal Snapshot 2020, funding is to be provided to Public Safety Canada and Indigenous Services Canada to support the creation of a task force to develop options for a national high-risk flood insurance program and a national action plan for potential relocation.
Funding has also been made available to Public Safety Canada to support the renewal of the National Disaster Mitigation Program. This program aims to reduce the impacts of natural disasters on Canadians by focusing on investments which address recurring flood risks and costs and advancing work to facilitate a private residential flood insurance market in Canada. To date, the program has funded 363 projects for a total value of just over $89.1 million.
Additionally, funding was provided to Finance Canada to develop insurance-based strategies for addressing broader natural disaster protection gaps, including earthquakes; leverage Canada’s robust private insurance market; and respond to evolving protection gaps and insurance issues as climate related perils intensify over time.
Prepared by: Matthew Godsoe, Acting Director, Resilience and Economic Integration Division (613-668-4406)
Approved by: Todd Cain, Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Emergency Management and Programs Branch (613-668-2460)
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