Many Maritimers woke this morning, hoping their sump pumps would protect them from rising waters…
The number of natural disasters in Canada have quadrupled in the past 50 years, and the two most costly disasters in history occurred under two years ago, when floods in the Calgary and Toronto areas caused a total of over $7 billion in damage.
Our communities, our businesses, and our homes are more vulnerable, and this is costing us a lot of money.
- some of our most expensive homes and businesses are located along vulnerable shorelines
- our infrastructure is aging and less able to withstand the damage from extreme weather events
- sea-levels are rising from climate change, and coastal storm surges from powerful nor’easters are increasing flood and erosion threats
- more frequent heavy precipitation events will increase the threat of freshwater flooding
Meanwhile, while our insurance costs are steadily rising, most properties have very limited insurance protection from floods. Furthermore, governments are not investing our tax dollars to protect us from this threat:
- the province of Nova Scotia has just eliminated its already very modest Flood Assessment Program
- Unlike the USA, Canada does not have a flood forecast and warning program to protect citizens, their families and their property
- Canada eliminated its Flood Damage Reduction Program in the 1990’s, where maps of flood risk areas assisted communities in planning their development to minimize risks from flooding
- Canada has just reduced the amounts provinces can benefit from Disaster Financial Assistance. In Nova Scotia, there will be no longer any assistance for events of less than $3M, which adds to the obligations and risks to small communities
- Communities are expected to spend billions to improve their wastewater systems; however, that will not enable them to manage the impacts of heavy rains that result in raw sewage and contaminants being dumped into our waters
Canadians agree that climate change is a threat to this country, and to our economy. Nevertheless, the federal government refuses to responsibly exercise leadership to reduce greenhouse gases. Furthermore there is no national adaptation program to enable communities to become more resilient; and no national flood warning system to protect us and our properties.