Expert calls for provincial intervention in flood risk relocation

Published: April 26, 2019

Updated: June 3, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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Earlier this week, we reported on the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) calling on the federal government to step in an relocate people living in flood-risk areas. In a similar vein, Kevin Quigley, director at the MacEachen Institute for Public Policy & Governance at Dalhousie University says provinces must also take action to move residents.

Flood issues are once again in the spotlight following severe spring flooding in New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario. Eastern Canada specifically is now facing multiple major overland flood events each year, and people in at risk areas a under constant threat. Home insurance premiums for these residents are skyrocketing.

Quigley says provincial governments can work with these communities to relocate people from areas that are most at risk.

“We need to take a medium-term view, work with the communities and get people out of flood-prone areas,” Quigley told Globalnews.ca.

He says Quebec’s accumulative compensation plan is an interesting solution. The program has placed a cap of $100,000 for residents in the province.

“It means if people ask for some money in the next three, five, 10 years, there will be an accumulative amount of $100,000,” François Legault, premier of Quebec, told Globalnews.ca. “When the accumulative amount will be reached, then we’ll offer a maximum of $200,000 to move to another house.”

Quigley likes the idea, but it still needs more development. He also advises consulting with communities through the process.

“You could buy a lot of properties that are going to sit empty and going to be vulnerabilities and environmental problems and health and safety problems in other ways for the government, they own a bunch of properties,” he added.