Province orders Quebec municipalities to come up with action plans in response to 2017 floods

Every municipality in Quebec has two years to come up with an emergency plan to deal with a disaster after the government has made it mandatory for them to do so.

Two-thirds of municipalities don't have updated preparedness plan

The flooded Pierrefonds borough of Montreal pictured on May 8, 2017. Quebec unveiled its action plan to better prepare municipalities for floods Thursday. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press )

Every municipality in Quebec has two years to come up with an emergency plan to deal with a disaster after the government has made it mandatory for them to do so.

The plan aims to help the province's municipalities be ready in the case of a natural disaster in their midst, such as last spring's floods, which devastated several cities and towns west of Montreal as well as in the Outaouais region of Quebec.

So far, two-thirds of Quebec municipalities don't have an updated preparedness plan.

The government has promised to provide funding to assist the municipalities in preparing their plans. Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux announced the action plan Thursday in response to the floods' slow recovery process.

Coiteux had promised in December it would come before the spring thaw.

Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux said an action plan is underway to shorten delays and make it easier for flood victims to file claims. (CBC)

The updated plans would include new tools for cities to speed up applications for financial assistance after a disaster hits. They include improving communication between neighbouring municipalities so they can help each other out.

It would also allow for more information to be shared between the province and municipalities, such as the files of evacuees, which could help speed up aid.

Residents whose homes were hit hard by last year's floods have decried delays in payments from the provincial government. 

Some still haven't been able to return home yet. 

"We can't have floods in the future and have the same complicated financial aid program that kept people in a difficult situation for months and months," said Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin. 

"We need to simplify the program before the next flood season."

The point of the program's reform, piloted by the Public Security Ministry, is to streamline the process for assistance and cut any procedures that slow it down. 

The ministry is also updating the province's floodplain map, though it has not announced when the update would be completed.