According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), the tornadoes that hit the Ottawa-Gatineau area on September 21, 2018 caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
A release from the bureau pegged the tornadoes’ insured damage total at close to $295 million. When split between the two affected cities, Ottawa saw more than $192 million in insured damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles, while Gatineau suffered over $102 million in damage.
IBC said that the September tornadoes bring the total for insured damage across Canada for this year to $1.7 billion.
“Costs from severe weather events in Ontario and across the country have been increasing. Insured losses are only part of the picture, taxpayers also foot the bill,” warned IBC vice-president of Ontario Kim Donaldson in a statement.
Donaldson also urged the public to take the issue of climate change seriously.
“We all have a role to play in adapting to the changing climate. We need to re-examine risks through the lens of how our communities are being impacted now and how they will be affected in coming years. We need to find ways to make our homes, businesses and communities more resilient,” he said.
A good first step towards resilience, Donaldson recommended, is to update and strengthen building codes.
“There should no longer be any doubt that as a society, we have to adapt to this new reality. The number of extreme weather events will continue to rise, and people need to understand the financial and physical risks they and their families are exposed to,” added IBC Quebec director of communications and public affairs Pierre Babinsky.
Babinsky also suggested that consumers should be better educated on how they can mitigate the effects of severe weather.