JOANNE LAUCIUS | Ottawa Citizen
Protecting flood victims in the future will likely include affordable flood insurance for people who live in areas prone to flooding and relocation incentives for those who live in the most vulnerable areas, says the vice-president of federal affairs with the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
“From our perspective, municipalities have to stop permitting development on floodplains, and governments need to start a structured program to buy out homes at greatest risk,” said Craig Stewart, who is responsible for the national file on disaster resilience and climate change at the insurance bureau.
“Knowing what we know now, municipalities face increasing liability should they continue to put people in harm’s way. Home values for those living on flood plains are already at risk. We need to look at solutions to protect people from poor decisions made in the first place. Realtors are already facing lawsuits for transactions where flood risk wasn’t disclosed,” he said.
Federal public safety minster Ralph Goodale has been warning that there will be no more government bailouts for those who rebuild in flood-vulnerable areas.
“At some point, you’re going to have to say if people ignore the knowledge base and deliberately rebuild in danger zones, they are going to have to assume their own responsibility for the cost burden,” Goodale said on April 11.
Just four days later, Quebec announced a new disaster relief program that will set hard caps on compensation available to homeowners in flood zones. If damages exceed 50 per cent of a home’s value, or reach $100,000, homeowners will get $200,000 in relocation money. If the homeowner decides to repair, they forfeit any future provincial funding.