Canadians may be in for a shock if they think the federal government will compensate them for flood damage resulting from severe storms, according to a poll commissioned last year by Public Safety Canada.
“The polling data shows that a large portion of Canadians still believe that the federal government…will provide compensation for their home and possessions in the case of large-scale flooding,” said University of Waterloo climate adaptation specialist Blair Feltmate. That was after 40% of respondents agreed with the statement that “the government will take care of me and my home if there’s major overland flooding.”
The problem is that policies have changed since the last round of major flooding in 2013, but public understanding has yet to catch up. “This perception highlights the need for continued consumer education and the need to set the right expectations to ensure homeowners prepare financially to support themselves in the event of flooding,” Feltmate warned.
Damage resulting from severe weather caused by climate change is on the rise, with the Insurance Bureau of Canada tallying insured claims at a record C$4.9 billion last year, CBC reports. After the Toronto and Alberta floods in 2013, Ottawa paid out $1.3 billion through provincial governments under the federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) program.
But “in the last 12 to 18 months, many of the major insurers now do offer overland flood coverage,” Feltmate notes. “Thus, if a homeowner now decides not to purchase this coverage, they would not qualify for overland flood compensation through DFAA.”