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Insurance chief calls for better flood protection and mapping


The chief executive officer of the Insurance Bureau of Canada is asking why Canada has no national strategy to combat the effects of flooding and devastation from climate change.

In an article published in the Globe and Mail on April 11 Don Forgeron points out that the Parliamentary Budget Office has estimated that costs from natural disasters driven in part by climate change are much greater than previously estimated. Yet Canada is the only Group of Seven country that has no national flood program.

He writes: “The numbers are harrowing: the PBO predicts that storms, hurricanes and floods linked to climate change will cost the federal disaster fund $900-million annually over the coming five years.” The comparable figures for the years between 1970 and 1994 are $54 million a year.

He says floods are expected to be especially bad in the Prairies and Rockies, thanks to multiple days of rainfall.

While noting that through its green infrastructure funds the federal government is taking some action to mitigate risks, there needs to be more “targeted” action such as detailed flood mapping and forecasting. And he calls for local governments to take greater care in flood mapping.

While provinces such as Alberta are investing in infrastructure to reduce some of the potential damage of flooding, Forgeron says: “These initiatives are important and useful — but they will not address the full scope of the challenge ahead.”

He also points out that many people in high-risk areas find it very difficult to get flood insurance.

To read the article in the Globe and Mail, click here.