IBC leader offers 4 key flood points for all levels of government

Published: June 20, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



A regional president of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has warned that changes are needed in the Bay Area to avoid costly damages caused by flood events.

In an opinion piece, IBC Ontario Region president Kim Donaldson says government at all levels need to plan for floods, enact preventative measures and mitigate potential losses. Published in the Hamilton Spectator, the piece points to a potential impact on the economic prospects of the Bay Area. Donaldson suggests the economy of the region “depend in large part on the vitality and resiliency of its industries and employers.”

“The issue of climate change is a significant and growing concern for the industry because claims for weather-related damage are growing fast,” Donaldson points out in the piece.

“For many years, fire was the number one cause of insured damage, but no more. Flood events now constitute the largest proportion of disaster claims in Canada,” she explained. “As climate change unfolds, expect to see extreme weather-related damage continue to trend upward. The impact on individuals, their communities and governments will be dramatic.”

Municipal authorities have already acted to prevent flood losses by factoring the risks in planning, however, the Ontario provincial and federal governments must also get involved, Donaldson argues.

She points to four key points that all levels of government should consider.  

  • “First, communities should target priority infrastructure investments, including the repair and upgrade of aging and failing sewer and storm water systems.”
  • “Second, building codes and standards need to be modernized and adapted to withstand the more severe weather that we’re expecting.”
  • “Third, communities should improve their land use planning so that homes and other construction projects are not allowed in or near known flood zones.”
  • “And fourth, consumers and the public should keep informed about climate change risks.”

“IBC recommends that Bay Area municipal leaders continue to adopt a long-term view when planning development,” Donaldson added. “The pressure to deal with what is happening right in front of us often takes precedence over what might be needed ‘one day.’ While immediate problems can’t be ignored, neither can the needs of the future.”