Insurance Bureau of Canada on Spring Flooding

With warmer weather arriving, snowmelt coupled with spring storms once again increase the risk of spring flooding across Canada. Provincial Emergency Management authorities have predicted certain communities across the country will likely experience flooding and Canadians should be prepared.

Municipalities are already taking action to reduce the local impacts of flooding and Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is informing consumers about how they can prepare for the coming flood season and help protect themselves and their property from damage.

During a severe weather event, everyone’s priority must be their personal safety and the safety of loved ones and neighbours. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, emergency responders may have reduced resources. As such, this places greater emphasis on individual preparation.

A number of Canadian insurers now offer residential overland flood insurance, which, along with sewer backup coverage, helps reduce the financial risk of inland flooding events. These products are optional and must be added to home insurance policies for an additional premium.

Contact your insurance representative to ensure your property is protected. Insurance representatives are an essential service at this time and although they may not be available in person, they can still respond to your insurance coverage questions , as well as assist with any claims.

Tips to protect your home from water damage:

  • Keep a current and detailed home inventory.
  • Assemble a disaster safety kit.
  • Create a 72-hour emergency preparedness plan for your family.
  • Visit IBC website for more tips: Water Damage – Are you Protected?

Even while all levels of government are coping with the pandemic, we still face the same risks from extreme weather, especially flooding, that come every spring. Canada still needs a National Action Plan on Flooding as committed to by the present federal administration.

Components of a National Action Plan on Flooding include investing in resilient infrastructure to protect communities from floods and wildfires, improved flood mapping, measures to re locate  those at highest risk out of harm’s way, and the availability of affordable overland flood insurance to remaining Canadians at high risk of flooding.

IBC continues to advocate for all stakeholders to work together to reduce the financial strain caused by flood events. For every dollar paid out in insurance claims for damaged homes and businesses, Canadian governments and their taxpayers pay out much more to repair public infrastructure damaged by severe weather.

Visit IBC’s website for information on how to prepare for a disaster and ways to prevent flood damage to your home.

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 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.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

5 things to know about Ottawa’s COVID 19 financial aid package

OTTAWA _ Five things to know about Ottawa’s $82-billion financial-aid package announced Wednesday to help weather the COVID-19 pandemic:

New emergency benefits

Ottawa is waiving the one-week waiting period to claim employment insurance sickness benefits. The government is also proposing a new emergency care benefit of up to $900 every two weeks for up to 15 weeks to help workers who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 or taking take of a sick family member, but do not qualify for employment insurance sickness benefits. The new benefit will also be available for parents who can’t earn employment income because they need to care for children, whether or not the parents qualify for employment insurance.

Increased benefits and top-ups

The government is moving to make a special one-time payment to those who receive the goods and services tax credit that will double the maximum annual payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year. The government is also proposing to increase the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year by $300 per child.

Help for businesses

The government wants to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage 10 per cent wage subsidy for three months. The payment will be up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Companies eligible will include those eligible for the small business deduction, as well as non-profit organizations and charities.

Tax delays

The Canada Revenue is pushing back the income-tax filing deadline for individuals until June 1. For trusts with a taxation year the same as the calendar year the filing date will be deferred to May 1. The agency will also allow all businesses to defer, until after Aug. 31, 2020, income-tax payments on amounts that become owing between now and September 2020. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.

Other targeted aid

The government is providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous community support fund for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation communities. It is also placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans. The required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds are being cut by 25 per cent for 2020.

Emergency alert system coming to Calgary cellphones in April

David Bell · CBC News 

Calgary will soon have a mandatory emergency alert system that pushes a short message to all cellphones in the area, the Calgary Emergency Management Agency chief says.

“This is something that we have been lobbying for, for a long time, and we are excited,” Tom Sampson told The Homestretch on Monday.

“Most Calgarians have a cellphone — it’s actually apparently 95 per cent — within arm’s reach. It allows us to not only to message Calgarians, but also, if you are visiting from Idaho and you are in Calgary, your cellphone will be alerted, also.”

This element of the overall emergency alert system — which includes social media and the ability to break into local radio and television broadcasts — is cellphone specific.

“It’s known as a cellular push for data, as SMS text message. As long as the person has service in the area, that message would come to any phone that’s in the area that is identified. It will pop onto your cellphone as an urgent message. ‘There has been an emergency alert issued for your area for the following problem. Please take shelter or do this or that, and potentially go this website for further information.’

“It won’t wake a phone that is dead, it will only deal with phones that are on.”

Sampson says the service should be online by April, but there’s still questions that will need answers.

“Let’s say we have a problem in the downtown core and we are advising people to stay away from the core. Can we create a curtain around that area and when you enter that, your cellphone will go off and say, ‘You have entered an area where there is an emergency alert.’ Those are the questions right now about how the system will work.”

The chief says the system will be focused on emergencies that have happened before, so the missile alert mistake in Hawaii recently isn’t on their radar.

“Let’s talk about things that really will happen,” Sampson says.

“Let’s say we have a severe storm, funnel clouds in Calgary, or even a touch down tornado, that kind of thing. You would get a message that said, ‘it’s in this area, please avoid the area, please go to the following website for further information.’

“You are trying to get a very short, clear message out, that this is the danger and here are the basic steps to take, seek shelter.”

Alaska quake shows complexity of tsunami warnings

By John Antczak

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES _ The powerful earthquake that struck beneath the Gulf of Alaska early Tuesday generated a tsunami, but before gauges could show that it was very small, warnings went out to a vast swath of the state and British Columbia, while a lower-level alert targeted the rest of the West Coast.

The magnitude-7.9 earthquake set in motion complex analysis that eventually downgraded and called off all alerts in less than four hours, but the protocol for the initial warnings only considered magnitude and location, said David Hale, a lead decision maker at the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska.

“We don’t have the luxury of time to be able to gather the data necessary to determine whether there is or is not a wave,” Hale said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

In deep water, a tsunami can travel at speeds in excess of 500 mph (805 kph), meaning residents of nearby coasts need to move immediately toward high ground or tall buildings.

The quake struck at 12:32 a.m. and was centred about 175 miles (280 kilometres) southeast of the city of Kodiak. It was given a preliminary magnitude of 8.0, upgraded briefly to 8.2 and then lowered to 7.9.

In the meantime, protocol tied to the initial magnitude and its location relatively near the coast required a  ‘local” tsunami warning, encompassing the vast span from Attu Island in the westernmost Aleutian Islands to the border between British Columbia and Washington state.

The rest of the U.S. West Coast south to the California-Mexico border was put on a watch, indicating  “something has occurred in the area that could have impacts at some point” and the need to pay attention to announcements, Hale said.

An earthquake generates a tsunami by forcing ocean water upward as one side of a fault rupture goes up and the other side goes down. But how the quake happens makes a difference. An undersea quake on a so-called thrust fault lifts a great deal of land and therefore more water. Another kind of fault, called a strike-slip, moves horizontally to the sea floor and pushes up less water.

After the initial alerts went out, the National Tsunami Warning Center turned to using models and looking at tide gauges in the area, Hale said.

Within 20 or 30 minutes, it was almost certain the quake occurred on a strike-slip fault that moves less water. After about 40 minutes, gauges showed that a tsunami had been generated, and officials compared data about the extent of the wave with the models.

Three tsunami-detection buoys in the area also detected the wave and showed it was small.

“At that point, we began whittling down the areas that are actually placed in alerts,” Hale said.

At 3:12 a.m., the centre issued its fifth message, confirming a tsunami, cancelling warnings and watches but leaving south Alaska and the Alaska peninsula under a low-level advisory to expect some effects.

The centrecancelled that advisory an hour later and reported the maximum tsunami height was 0.7 of a foot (0.21 of a meter) at Old Harbor, Alaska.

Canada’s largest earthquake drill is just a week away!

Join hundreds of thousands of British Columbians as they “Drop, Cover and Hold On” during the 2017 Great British Columbia ShakeOut. The BC Earthquake Alliance, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), and Science World, are working together to present Canada’s largest earthquake preparedness drill on Thursday, October 19at 10:19 a.m. ShakeOut is also presented with generous support from London Drugs, FortisBC , BC Hydro, HEMBC, BCAA,  and Ivanhoe Cambridge. For a full list of sponsors, organizers and supporters, click here.

Register today and encourage your family, friends and colleagues to do the same at www.ShakeOutBC.ca.

“Well-rehearsed emergency plans are key to our overall level of preparedness, and each year, people across the province ‘Drop, Cover and Hold On’ during The Great British Columbia ShakeOut to practice what to do when an earthquake first occurs,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness in British Columbia. “I encourage all British Columbians to participate in this drill and take this opportunity to prepare an emergency kit and review emergency plans with their loved ones. A program like ShakeOut is one step we can take to protect the safety of our citizens, so let’s all work together to create a more resilient British Columbia.”

“Thousands of earthquakes occur every year in British Columbia. While only a few are large enough to be felt, damaging earthquakes have happened in the past and will occur in the future,” said Dave Cockle, President, BC Earthquake Alliance. “By participating in the Great British Columbia ShakeOut, you, your family and your colleagues take an easy, 90 second step toward ensuring the safest action will be taken during an earthquake.”

“We are thrilled to be hosting this year’s annual ShakeOutBC event,” said Dr. Scott Sampson, President and CEO of Science World. “British Columbia is a province that is tectonically active and understanding the science of seismology and tsunamis is an important part of emergency preparedness.”

Canada’s home and business insurers play a critical role helping individuals and families recover following disaster,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific, IBC. “That is why IBC is once again proud to sponsor this year’s Great British Columbia ShakeOut. Governments, businesses, and consumers all need to work together to help create a culture of preparedness in British Columbia.”

To learn about all the ways to participate in this year’s ShakeOut BC drill, click here. Listen to the ShakeOut BC drill audio broadcast during the event to make it more informative. Click here to download the drill broadcast. For more information about IBC and the 2017 Great British Columbia ShakeOut, visit www.ibc.ca.

Note to Editors:

If you work for a TV or radio station that will be airing the drill during The Great British Columbia ShakeOut, celebrate your station’s commitment to earthquake preparedness by listing its name on the BC ShakeOut website. Just fill out this form.

A media advisory will be issued on October 17th and 18th inviting media to attend Science World for the main media event, presented by Insurance Bureau of Canada, on ShakeOut BC Day October 19th

About ShakeOut BC

ShakeOut BC earthquake drills help people at home, school and work practise how to be safe during an earthquake and provide an opportunity for everyone to improve their overall preparedness. By participating, you, your family, your co-workers and millions of others will be better prepared to survive and recover quickly following an earthquake. As of today, 38 million people worldwide are registered to participate in the October 19th drill, including more than 732,000 British Columbians currently registered to participate.  Last year over 800,000 British Columbians participated.

About Science World

Science World British Columbia is a charitable organization that engages British Columbians in science and inspires future science and technology leadership throughout our province.

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.

If you require more information, spokespeople from IBC and the Great British Columbia ShakeOut are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

The ‘Be Ready’ App features tips on how to prepare for 11 kinds of disasters

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