Government of Canada releases report that will advance work on Canada’s first national flood insurance program
August 30, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario
Communities and governments are working together to prepare for and adapt to impacts of climate change, helping to improve quality of life for Canadians in higher-risk areas, and reduce the costs of disasters. In Canada, flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster, causing approximately $1.5 billion in damage to households, property, and infrastructure annually, with residential property owners bearing approximately 75% of uninsured losses each year.
Today, the Government of Canada announced the release of the interdisciplinary Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation’s report Adapting to Rising Flood Risk: An Analysis of Insurance solutions for Canada.
The report provides evidence and information required to support decision-making and a way forward on a national flood insurance program, with special considerations for potential strategic relocation of those at most risk. It is a valuable first step toward the common goal of reducing the impact of flooding for all Canadians and includes significant progress on flood modelling, and actuarial analysis, and demonstrates climate change adaptation in action.
The Government of Canada is reviewing the report to inform next steps on the development of a national flood insurance program. Work is also underway on the Flood Hazard Identification and Mapping Program and a flood risk portal to make flood risk information more accessible to Canadians.
Alongside provincial, territorial, Indigenous and municipal governments, the federal government is currently developing the country’s first National Adaptation Strategy, to help Canada be more resilient and prepare for the impacts of climate change. The National Adaptation Strategy is set to launch by end of 2022. Strengthening Canada’s resilience to flooding and other disasters is one of the five focus areas of the Strategy.
The Government of Canada will continue to help Canadians whose lives and jobs are affected when disasters strike, help communities deal with the realities of increased climate-related risks and disasters and ultimately, increase the country’s resiliency to the impacts of flooding.
“I thank the Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation for their vital report, which will provide us with the insights and information we need to move forward on making flood insurance available and affordable for Canadians living in high-risk areas. Developing a national flood insurance program is a priority for our government and we will continue working with partners to give Canadians the financial protection they need.”
- The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the Queen’s Privy Council and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
“For many, their home is their most important investment, and we have to ensure it is equipped in the face of changing climate conditions across the country. The Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation is helping to protect homeowners, and is a step toward making housing in Canada more resilient to climate events. Our government will continue to help those who need it most, as we work to ensure everyone has a safe place to call home.”
- The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion
“As we prepare for the increased impacts of climate change such as flooding, our Government is proactively taking steps to ensure communities are better supported and protected. A national flood insurance program is a concrete example of the kind of actions that will support the implementation of the National Adaptation Strategy that will help Canadians and communities be better prepared for climate change.”
- The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“The insurance industry is on the front lines, addressing the financial risk of climate change. Insurance claims from intensifying severe weather have more than quadrupled over the past 15 years. Flooding is the most widespread climate peril facing Canadians today and those at high risk cannot be affordably insured. The Government of Canada has shown essential leadership in appointing the Task Force and coordinating its work to conclusion. Insurers are eager to support the formation of a national flood insurance program delivered through a public-private partnership; we’re looking forward to translating this research into a program capable of offering flood insurance to hundreds of thousands of high risk Canadians.”
- Craig Stewart, Vice President, Climate Change and Federal Issues, Insurance Bureau of Canada, and Co-Chair, Disaster Resilience and Security Advisory Table for the National Adaptation Strategy
The Task Force conducted its work collaboratively with other federal departments, Provincial and Territorial governments, and the insurance industry. The work of the Task Force also included engagement with academics, First Nations living off-reserve, Inuit, Métis, and other organizations.
On May 18, 2021, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) launched the Steering Committee on First Nation Home Flood Insurance Needs, a complimentary initiative to examine the specific home flood insurance needs of First Nations on reserves. The final report was presented at the final Steering Committee meeting on June 28, 2022, and also presented at the AFN Annual General Assembly on July 4, 2022. This work will inform future considerations and potential next steps related to flood insurance options on reserves.
Since 2019, the Government of Canada has moved forward on a number of initiatives, in collaboration with all orders of government and stakeholders, to improve resiliency and flood mitigation. This includes, but is not limited to:
- investing $63.8M over three years for the Flood Hazard Identification and Mapping Program to complete flood hazard mapping of higher-risk areas and to make this flood hazard information accessible, in partnership with provinces and territories, and to advance consistent best practices and flood mapping approaches across Canadian jurisdictions;
- a commitment to create a nation-wide flood risk portal so that Canadians have the information on flood risks as well as resources and suggestions on how best to protect their homes and communities. This work seeks to help Canadians be prepared for, mitigate against, and recover from the impact of floods in high-risk areas and will be informed by existing mapping and scientific data;
- a review of the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements program to ensure there is an updated, sustainable system available to provinces and territories for disaster recovery and for the safety and well-being of Canadians; and
- advancing work on a National Risk Profile, which is a strategic national risk and capability assessment that uses scientific evidence and stakeholder input to identify, compare, and prioritize which hazards are the most concerning; and, where there are gaps in our ability to prevent, mitigate, respond, and recover from disasters across all hazards. The National Risk Profile includes a hazard-specific stream focused on flooding, which coordinates the development of whole-of-government flood risk policy and direction on activities related to flood risk awareness, engagement and education.
Canada is currently developing its first National Adaptation Strategy, working with provincial, territorial and municipal governments, Indigenous peoples and other key partners, to unite society in coordinated and strategic action to make communities safer and more climate resilient. The Strategy will be collaborative and action-oriented – it will build upon the plans and actions being led by all levels of government, Indigenous Peoples, and others, in order to establish a shared vision for climate resilience in Canada, identify opportunities for increased collaboration across all levels of government, and provide a framework for concrete, tangible and measurable actions.
In order to support the development of the National Adaptation Strategy, Public Safety Canada is co-chairing a Disaster Resilience and Security Advisory Table, which includes diverse stakeholders, including representatives from the National Indigenous Organizations, non-governmental-organizations, academia, industry associations, and others.
In his most recent mandate letter, Minister Blair was tasked with creating a low-cost national flood insurance program to protect homeowners who are at high risk of flooding and do not have adequate insurance protection.
While the Government of Canada completes its work on creating a national flood insurance program, Canadians living in high risk areas where flood insurance is currently unavailable are still fully eligible under the federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements, though specific terms of eligibility are set by provinces and territories.
Office of the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada
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