MPP's bill aims to stop insurance companies from cutting off flood coverage

Residents in Windsor-Essex whose homes have been flooded more than once could get more support if a local MPP's bill is passed.

NDP MPP Natyshak introduced Bill 179 Tuesday

Flood debris piles up at the former GM Transmission Plant on Sept. 11, 2017. (Meg Roberts/CBC Windsor)

A Windsor-Essex MPP has tabled a bill aimed at stopping insurance companies from cutting off flood coverage to people in areas where an emergency has been declared.

Taras Natyshak introduced a private members bill earlier this week, aimed at helping Windsor-Essex residents who have experienced recurrent flooding. 

"I've spoken to residents and concerned leaders about what we can do to mitigate heavy flooding and rainfall but also to protect homeowners from, really, issues that are outside of their control," said Natyshak.

Essex NDP MPP Taras Natyshak. (NDP)

"We didn't think that was fair," said Natyshak. "It's not that they can't drop clients from flooding … what this identifies is these incidences where it has been declared an emergency — and that's outside the control of that individual homeowner or that municipality."

The bill would also expand the province's Disaster Recovery Assistance Program, and encourage homeowners to install rain barrels on their properties. 

Natyshak worked with students at Holy Name Catholic Elementary School on the changes to building codes, which would require residences be built with rain barrels connected by a downspout. 

"That was a great part," said Natyshak. "They pitched the idea to me and I thought 'this is perfect timing — lets integrate that into this bill that deals with flooding in general,' and so it's really great they're bright kids."

More than 5,000 basements flooded in the City of Windsor during heavy rainfalls in late August.

Students on the robotics team had been studying how to manage the increasing amounts of rainfall in the community.

"I was incredibly impressed with them," Natyshak added. 

The bill was debated and passed second reading at Queen's Park Thursday. It has now been referred to the Standing Committee on General Government.

The Essex MPP said it is up to the government to decide which bills are reviewed by that committee.

"The ball is essentially in the government's court to decide the fate of the bill," he told CBC News Thursday evening.