Provinces that have been affected by flooding in recent years are asking the federal government for nearly $138 million in funding to move or buy out homeowners in high-risk areas.
Specifically, Public Safety Canada said that provinces and territories have asked for $137.9 million in federal money. That money will be used to help cover costs related to 10 flood events. The figure is only an estimate, and does not include this year’s floods.
The Canadian Press reported that calculations based on previous flood experiences could put the actual cost of giving up 100,000 flood-endangered properties across Canada closer to billions of dollars.
The 100,000 homes figure comes from an Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) report, which estimated that about 100,000 homes – of the 14 million dwellings Statistics Canada recorded in the 2016 census – are at the highest risk of repeat flood damage.
“No government bailout program or insurance program is going to be able to deal with those repeated cases where you’re going to have repeated claims in a short period of time. That’s where you may focus buyouts,” commented IBC vice-president of federal affairs Craig Stewart.
Public Safety Canada expects to receive more requests for financial help to relocate homeowners as extreme flooding rises in frequency. The department also said in a statement that it wants to know how much provinces and territories have spent on relocation efforts without federal aid.
Under the “Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements” program, federal aid for disaster relief takes effect only when the costs exceed what lower levels of government could reasonably be expected to cover on their own. The program has a provision that allows provinces to claim the cost of relocating residents to areas less prone to disasters.