U-W study says provinces slow to mitigate flood risk

A new report from the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo gives provincial governments a C grade for flood preparedness, and says provincial governments are not moving fast enough to protect buildings from flooding. 
High waters of the Grand River in Kitchener, Ont. after rainfall Feb. 19/20 2018 (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

A new report says provincial governments are not moving fast enough to protect homes and other buildings from the ravages of flooding. 

The report from the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo says on average provincial governments get a grade of C for flood preparedness. 

For a similar study finished in 2016, the flood score for Canada was C-minus, according to Centre chair Blair Feltmate.

Wednesday morning's heavy rain led to flooding in the Pleasant Ave. and Stirling Ave. S. area of Kitchener. (Submitted photo: Janet Campagnaro-Kirby)

Feltmate says provincial governments should be updating their flood maps every five to seven years but Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province that has fully updated its river, coastal and rainfall risk maps since 2015.

"The report was a substantial undertaking," Feltmate said in a release, taking over two years and interviews with "139 Deputy Ministers, ADMs, emergency management persons, etc., across 10 provinces and 3 territories, in an effort to quantify Canada's preparedness to address flood risk."

Two provinces, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, hadn't updated their flood maps in more than two decades. 

Many provinces have no regulations preventing new developments from going up in high flood-risk spots, and several also haven't done much to assess and protect critical buildings like hospitals and schools.

GRCA issued a flood warning to a number of townships, including Woolwich, Wilmont and the City of Cambridge as snow melt and significant rainfall affected the entire Grand River watershed in 2019. (Carmen Groleau/ CBC)

With files from The Canadian Press


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