Quebec disaster relief program: deal of no deal?

Published: April 29, 2019

Updated: June 3, 2019

Author: Luke Jones



Severe flooding in Quebec has raised the question of homeowner locations. Many properties are located on flood plains and authorities wants to relocate as many people as possible from these high-risk communities. To do so, a mixture of incentive and tough love.

As we reported last week, the Quebec government believes it has found a balance with its recent disaster relief program. Announced by Premier Francois Legault, the disaster relief program provides a maximum of $100,000 to home owners dealing with flood damage. The government would also offer to buy a home at a maximum of $200,000. The incentive.

Homeowners may find this route appealing as it means they won’t face continued insurance and damage costs from flooding. Severe floods are becoming more frequent and more devastating.

However, the government says it will only provide $100,000 a single time to help with flood damage. If a homeowner refuses to relocate and more floods hit, there will be no government relief available. The tough love.

No details are available on how many homeowners in Quebec has accepted this offer. It is clear some have refused the deal, and the main reason is also the most obvious… their homes are worth more than the $200,000 maximum the government is willing to pay.

“I personally believe that: 1) the buyout needs to be mandatory in order to work, and 2) fair market value for the home should be given,” Glenn McGillivray, managing director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR), told Canadian Underwriter.

“The discussion in Quebec is finally heading in the right direction, but if peoples’ homes are worth more than $200,000, that creates anger and resentment,” McGillivray added. “They still won’t be happy with having to move, but at least fair market value will be equitable.”

Some U.S. states offer above market value for properties. McGillivray says if homeowners don’t get value they may just sell to someone else, which does not solve the problem. He suggests making sure owners have full access to all relevant information.

For example, he says while anybody can see flood maps, many homeowners may not understand how to read them. “So, I think we need an open portal where people can go online, enter their postal code, and get a simple risk rating.”