The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has shown enthusiasm for the federal government’s plan to establish a national climate adaptation plan – an initiative that the bureau had been pushing for the past few years.
Yesterday, Governor General Mary Simon opened the first session of the 44th Parliament with a Speech from the Throne. The speech discussed the federal government’s commitment to bolstering efforts to mitigate and prepare for extreme weather and natural disasters such as floods and wildfires, starting with the development of a National Adaptation Strategy.
The IBC has released a statement in response to the Speech.
"Today's federal government announcement of the development of Canada's first-ever National Adaptation Strategy is extremely timely and critical – Canada needs to accelerate work on climate defence,” said IBC vice president of federal affairs Craig Stewart.
Stewart also took the opportunity to list down the most recent cases of extreme weather borne from climate change.
“In southern British Columbia, residents are dealing with major flooding, only months after battling wildfires. Yet again this year, Calgary was hit with a severe hailstorm. In Atlantic Canada, many are without power today following heavy rains and winds from another severe storm.”
"Climate change is real, and the emotional turmoil and financial consequences need to be a call to action – we must adapt now,” the vice president mentioned. “Any acceptable climate plan must aim to reduce emissions to limit our future risks from climate change, but we need action now to protect us from the worsening severe weather that is already happening.”
According to Stewart, a National Adaptation Strategy with clearly defined targets and performance measures is a “foundational step” in protecting Canadians from extreme weather and disasters. He also pointed out that the new normal for insured catastrophic losses in Canada has hit $2 billion – mostly due to water-related damage.
The IBC has stated that it has been advocating for action on flooding for years, noting that four years ago, it joined insurance CEOs in meeting then-Minister Ralph Goodale as well as provincial and territorial officials and national Indigenous organizations to call for a National Action Plan on Flooding. Said plan also involved the creation of a high-risk insurance pool.