To date, 89.5 per cent of funds raised have been spent or committed

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Real estate group fears homegrown pot risks fires, property damage

OTTAWA _ The Canadian Real Estate Association says Ottawa needs to put the brakes on letting people grow pot at home until it can better regulate it to prevent property damage and higher risks of crime and fires.

It is the latest criticism of the government’s legislation legalizing marijuana that is inching its way through the Senate as the government tries to make pot legal to buy, grow and sell across the country this summer.

The bill would allow individuals to grow up to four pot plants at home as long as they are below a certain height, but association CEO Michael Bourque says there are too many risks from home grow-ops that haven’t been addressed yet.

Bourque is one of several parties discussing the pot bill at the Senate social affairs committee this week.

Later today, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will appear at the Senate foreign affairs committee to talk about how the bill may affect international commitments, including United Nations drug treaties.

Three Senate committees today are also expected to release preliminary reports on their views of the bill, including possible impacts on Indigenous communities, the border and some of the Criminal Code and judicial elements in the bill.

April storm caused more than $85 million in insured damage across Ontario & Quebec

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reports that an early April storm affecting Ontarioand Quebec, brought severe rain, heavy snow, and damaging winds.  It resulted in more than $85 million in insured damage, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).  A review of recent severe weather damage shows that insured losses in Ontario alone have now surpassed half a billion dollars over the past twelve months.

Widespread wind damage was reported across several regions of Ontario and resulted in over 145,000 power outages and a destroyed home development in Niagara Region. The storm then tracked to Quebec. Of the damage, the majority was in Ontario, and largely resulted in home insurance claims. The snow led to poor driving conditions that resulted in car collisions in Quebec and Ontario, including a 50-car pile-up on Highway 400 in Barrie, Ontario.

“Insured losses from storms such as these are increasing rapidly. However this is only part of the picture. Taxpayers are also bearing the brunt of these costs since many losses are uninsured. We are witnessing more frequent, intense storms which we now know are attributable to climate change.” said Craig Stewart, Vice-President, Federal Affairs, IBC. “The present costs of climate change are real which is why urgent action is needed on adaptation as well as mitigation.”

While the insured damage from the early April storm is significant, this spring season in eastern Canada has been particularly harsh, and IBC expects that this event was only a prelude to other events to affect the region this spring. IBC will report on further damage from the Ontario ice storm in the coming weeks.

Over the past twelve months, a series of severe weather events have hit the province of Ontario resulting in more than $500 million in damage.  These events included:

  • March 2017 windstorm in Hamilton and Niagara region with damage over $100 million
  • April 2017 wind and water damage in Ottawa and Burlington of over $25 million
  • May 2017 flooding damage in Peterborough and Minden over $50 million
  • August 2017 flooding in the Windsor area topping $160 million in damage
  • October 2017 wind and flood damage in Kingston and Ottawa of almost $50 million
  • January 2018 winter storm damage in TorontoLondon and south western Ontario of nearly $10 million
  • February 2018 water and winter storm damage in southern Ontario of over $40 million

IBC reminds consumers that, especially because of changing spring weather conditions, it is vital to know what your policies cover and whether your home insurance policy includes overland flood protection. Check with your insurance representative to see what options are available. For more information on how to protect property against floods and other disasters, please visit IBC’s website.

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 120,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $52 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

About CatIQ
Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ) delivers detailed analytical and meteorological information on Canadian natural and man-made catastrophes. Through its online subscription-based platform, CatIQ combines comprehensive insured loss indices and other related information to better serve the needs of the insurance and reinsurance industries, the public sector and other stakeholders. To learn more, visit

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Fort McMurray: Wildfire insurance claim deadline approaches

By Laura Beamish |

Just weeks away from the two-year insurance deadline for claims related to the May 2016 wildfires, Mayor Don Scott is feeling better after meeting with Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci after he was told the province could not extend the deadline for insurance companies.

In March, Scott sent a letter to Ceci, asking for insurance companies to extend the deadline. Last week, the province said they could not grant an extension as requested.

“We don’t have the ability to grant blanket exemptions with regard to folks who haven’t made claims,” said Ceci during a Wednesday visit to Fort McMurray. “What we can do and are doing is we’re insuring that the residents of Fort McMurray who need to have extensions have the support they need to request one.”

Ceci said that the government is working with the Insurance Bureau of Canada to make sure residents who need an extension are aware of their options.

“If a person is coming up against that two year timeline and they’re finding their insurance company is being somewhat slow or not supportive, they can contact the superintendent of insurance and the superintendent will get information both from the insurer and the insured and work to get that person an extension so that they can take the time they need to resolve their claim properly,” he said.

Scott said when he first heard the decision he was disappointed, but he was happy with how the meeting went, saying he understands that the government will try and help get the message out in other ways.

He said he is always worried there is someone out there that the message isn’t reaching and suggested that insurees be told directly about the deadline and their options, not simply relying on notices and messages on social media.

“I’m really asking the province to do a better job getting the message out,” said Scott. “We want him to understand the importance of that issue.”

Scott encourages to seek many options, including getting in touch with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, seeking legal advice, speaking with their own insurance company and speaking with the superintendent of insurance.

“It is critical that people talk and get advice,” said Scott.

The minister, mayor and councillors also discussed the importance of pipelines and their impact on the region, as well as key issues including homelessness and a potential ring road around Fort McMurray.

“It was a good, open, frank discussion,” said Ceci.

The superintendent of insurance can be contacted at 780-427-8322 or residents can get more information at

B.C. offers financial aid to southern Interior residents hit by March flood

VICTORIA _ Residents of British Columbia’s southern Interior hit by flooding or other damage from an early spring downpour can apply for relief from the provincial government.

The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General says financial assistance is available after heavy rains in late March caused overland flooding or landslides.

A news release from the ministry says disaster financial assistance is available to homeowners, tenants, farmers, small businesses and even local governments that could not obtain insurance for certain disaster-related losses.

If allowed, the ministry says assistance claims can cover 80 per cent of eligible damage that exceeds $1,000, to a maximum claim of $300,000.

Applications are available online and will be accepted from claimants across the North Okanagan, Columbia Shuswap, Okanagan-Similkameen and Central Okanagan regional districts.

Torrential downpours swept across the southern Interior starting on March 22 washing out roads, causing localized flooding and bringing down rock and mudslides, prompting several regions, including the City of Armstrong, to declare local states of emergency.

$12M GoFundMe for Humboldt Broncos to close Wednesday

CBC News

The Humboldt Broncos organization will soon be closing a GoFundMe that raised $12 million to support players and families affected by a crash that left 16 people dead and 13 injured.

The outpouring of support began 10 days ago after the team bus collided with a semi on the way to Nipawin, Sask., on April 6.

Kevin Garinger, president of the Humboldt Broncos, made a statement Monday evening about how the team plans to secure and manage the funds that have been raised.

Garinger said the Humboldt Broncos board of directors, with legal counsel from MLT Aikins, and advice from GoFundMe executives, has decided to close the campaign and take it offline at 11:59 p.m. MDT on Wednesday, April 18.

The donated funds will be transferred to a newly created non-profit known as the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund Inc.

An advisory committee is being established to make a recommendation for the allocation of funds.

‘Working to support our Bronco families’

He said the organization’s board of directors has immense love and gratitude for all those who have donated time and money to Humboldt Broncos fundraisers.

“If there is any light shining through this dark time, it has come in the form of love for one another,” he said. “Our families and our entire organization has been blessed to feel this love from people from around the globe.

“Our priority currently remains focused, as it has since day one, on working to support our Bronco families, especially now as they are celebrating the lives of their loved ones and supporting our players who are struggling to heal.”

Garinger also thanked fund creator, Sylvie Kellington. Kellington, who is from the small community, started the fundraiser in hopes of covering parking costs for the families who were at the hospital following the crash.

undraisers and donations outside of the GoFundMe will go to the Humboldt Strong Community Foundation, created with legal counsel from Robertson Stromberg LLP. Garinger said its mission will be to support Humboldt Broncos players, employees, families and volunteers as well as first responders, emergency personnel, teams, athletes, organizations and communities affected by the crash and its aftermath.

Only fundraisers and initiatives directed to the foundation will be endorsed, sanctioned by or held in conjunction with the Humboldt Broncos organization. Garinger said the team’s management will not be able verify any other fundraising events.

In an update posted on the GoFundMe page on Friday night, the Humboldt Broncos announced the team was getting assistance from western Canada law firm MLT Aikins LLP law firm which is supporting the organization pro bono.

“Know that we are working around the clock with our advisers to get the funds to our families as quickly as possible,” the post said.

“We appreciate your patience as this process takes time and thoughtful consideration.”

As of the latest update, 10 people from the Humboldt Broncos crash remain in hospital, with two in critical condition, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Little is known about their specific injuries, except that 18-year-old Ryan Straschnitzki is paralyzed from the chest down.

If some suffer severe injuries, including paralysis and brain injuries, financial support could be required to pay for 24-hour care.

If someone needs to use a wheelchair, home modifications could be a large expense.

The cost of psychological and emotional recovery for team members and their families could also come out of the fund.

Insurance coverage also on the table

Because the deaths and injuries resulted from a road accident in Saskatchewan, some of the costs will be covered through SGI, the province’s public insurance company.

SGI president Andrew Cartmell said benefits available for people who are injured range from travel and accommodation costs for families visiting their loved ones in hospital to long-term rehabilitation and keeping their standard of living consistent.

No-fault insurance means that funds aren’t tied to the cause of the crash and can be distributed before the investigation is complete.

Saskatchewan insurance also covers funeral costs up to about $10,000, plus additional death benefits, including grief counselling.

Hockey Canada’s insurance program also covers the Humboldt Broncos players, coaches and staff, spokesperson Lisa Dornan told CBC News in an email.

Dornan said crisis management staff from both Hockey Canada and insurance provider AIG were on-site in Humboldt to help support the families by making funeral arrangements and organizing travel.

Both SGI and Hockey Canada said that money received by survivors and family members from fundraising campaigns would not affect their insurance benefits.

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