IBC Applauds Investment in Flood Mitigation in Kootenay Boundary

June 27, 2019 (Vancouver) – Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) commends the Government of British Columbia, along with the federal government and the City of Grand Forks, for together investing nearly $50 million in important flood mitigation projects in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary. This investment in natural infrastructure upgrades and flood defences is critical in protecting residents in the area, and particularly in the community of Grand Forks, from the increased risk of extreme weather associated with climate change.

The Government of British Columbia is investing more than $28.9 million, the Government of Canada is providing over $19.9 million and the City of Grand Forks is contributing $1 million to this project through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.

“As our climate changes, the intensity and frequency of severe weathers events – like floods – have been on the rise. The community of Grand Forks has seen firsthand the devastating impact this can bring and the need to improve Canada’s resilience to the new weather reality we face,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific, IBC. “IBC and its members applaud this investment in natural infrastructure and other upgrades that will help communities in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary build resilience for years to come.

“Last year, insured damage from severe weather across Canada reached $2 billion, the fourth-highest amount of losses on record,” continued Sutherland. “However, unlike the 1998 Quebec ice storm, the 2013 Calgary floods or the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire, no single event caused the high amount paid out for losses in 2018. Instead, Canadians and their insurers experienced significant losses from a host of smaller severe weather events from coast to coast to coast.”

As the financial cost of a changing climate rises, and as Canadians head to a federal election, IBC is advocating that all political parties commit to a National Action Plan on Flooding. This Action Plan would prioritize public awareness and education on the risk of flooding, relocating and protecting those at the greatest risk of repeated flooding, develop high-risk insurance mechanisms for those residents remaining in high-risk areas, and deny disaster assistance to new buildings on flood plains.

Crucial to all of this is increased investment from the federal government in mitigating the future impacts of extreme weather and building resilience to its damaging effects.

IBC reminds Canadians that it is not only insurers that foot the bill for severe weather damage. For every dollar paid out in insurance claims for homes and businesses, Canadian governments and their taxpayers pay out much more to recover public infrastructure damaged by severe weather.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 126,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $54.7 billion.

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