A new study issued by The Co-operators and written by Dr. Blair Feltmate from the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment reveals that Canadian cities have made significant strides in preparing for floods, although some remain more vulnerable than others.
The analysis examined how well 15 cities could tolerate the 16 areas of flood vulnerabilities caused by extreme rainfall.
It found that most cities excel in the following areas:
- Requiring new homes to install backwater valves, which prevents water from accessing the house through basement drains
- Creating flood plain maps that allow cities to “predict the extent of storm-related flood coverage” and limit construction in flood-prone areas
- Enhanced maintenance of urban drains, which helps keep sewer systems clear
Researchers assessed cities by those elements, as well as electricity and petroleum supply, food and water, telecommunications systems, transportation, banking and financial services, and emergency responders and others.
They concluded that cities’ flood preparedness could be graded as:
- Ottawa, A-
- Winnipeg, B+
- Calgary, B
- St. John’s, B
- Toronto, B-
- Montreal, B-
- Mississauga, C+
- Edmonton, C
- Fredericton, C
- Whitehouse, C
- Charlottetown, C-
- Quebec City, C-
- Regina, C-
- Vancouver C-
- Halifax D
"Flooding is by far the most common type of natural disaster in Canada, and there is a wide range of actions that can be taken to build a city's resilience to its destructive force," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "This is a valuable piece of research that can serve as a benchmark and a resource for all Canadian cities, to help motivate them to step up their efforts to protect people and property from flooding."
Canadian insurance companies issued record payouts in 2013, with claims reaching $3.2 billion nationwide. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), that was approximately double the second most expensive year on record.