November 1, 2016

Canada Ill-Prepared for Flood Damage

Canada’s provinces and Yukon could be better prepared for flood damage according to a recent report released by the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation.

Over 100 government representatives were surveyed between December 2015 and April 2016. The focus of these interactions was to determine how prepared the provinces and Yukon are to limit flood damage relative to current and future major rainfall events. Based on the feedback that was received, each province and Yukon was graded quantitatively across 12 categories.

The report provides a detailed breakdown of the results for each province and Yukon in the report. These individual results were averaged out to develop a national average; the result of this process suggests that there is room for Canada to better prepare for future flood risk overall. While a national score provides the overall picture, it is important to note that the individual results between the provinces and Yukon are highly varied which could be caused by a lack of standardization and coordination across the country.

A summary of strengths and areas for improvement related to flood preparedness are provided in the report. It also provides some actions that should be taken by the provinces and territories to limit future flood risk. These include:

  • Audited Flood Preparedness Reports: Provinces and territories should issue public reports that document the state of flood preparedness in their jurisdictions on a multi-year cycle (e.g. every five years).
  • Land-Use Planning: Provinces and territories should restrict new development in flood-prone areas. In cases where there is existing development in flood-prone areas, actions should be taken to limit potential flood damage.
  • Build Back Better: Infrastructure should be rebuilt, in cases where it is practical and cost-effective, to ensure that it is resilient to future climate realities.


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