+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 6-21S

National Flood Insurance Strategy and Community Resiliency Advocacy

Date:
March 16, 2021
Expiry Date:
April 1, 2024
Active Status:
Active
Sponsors:
RM of Wood Buffalo
District:
4 - Northern
Year:
2021
Convention:
Spring
Category:
Planning and Development
Status:
Accepted in Part
Vote Results:
Carried
Preamble:

WHEREAS the Government of Canada has created a National Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation (the “Task Force”), including representation from the federal, provincial, and territorial governments and the insurance industry; and

WHEREAS Indigenous Services Canada will work with First Nations partners on a dedicated Steering Committee on First Nations Home Flood Insurance Needs to examine the unique context on reserves; and

WHEREAS the Task Force will consider options to protect homeowners who are at high risk of flooding and do not have adequate insurance protection and examine the viability of a low-cost national flood insurance program, among other goals; and

WHEREAS flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in Canada, causing over one billion dollars in direct damage to residential property and impacting thousands of Canadians every year; and

WHEREAS according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, in 2019 only 39 percent of residential property owners had access to overland flood insurance; and

WHEREAS many of the property owners unable to access flood insurance (affordable or otherwise) have properties located in high-risk flood areas;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta advocate for the Government of Alberta to participate in and contribute to the work of the National Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation;

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Government of Alberta’s participation on the National Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation focus on advocating for the development of a national high-risk residential flood insurance program and sustainable, long-term funding for provinces, Indigenous communities and municipalities for flood mitigation programs, projects and initiatives that increase overall community resiliency.

Member Background:

Government of Canada Creates Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation

From: Public Safety Canada news release (November 23, 2020)

“The cost of climate change is undeniable. Flooding continues to be the most frequent and costly natural disaster in Canada. Water damage goes beyond the destruction of property; it also places an emotional toll on individuals as their homes are destroyed and families are displaced. Each year, too many Canadians, including Indigenous communities, are exposed to the worst effects of climate change. To help people get ready for climate risks and realities, the Government of Canada is taking action to create a more resilient and sustainable approach to floods in Canada.

Today, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Bill Blair, and the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, announced the creation of an interdisciplinary Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation. As a first step in creating a National High Risk Residential Flood Insurance Program, the Task Force will look at options to protect homeowners who are at high risk of flooding and don’t have adequate insurance protection, and examine the viability of a low-cost national flood insurance program. The Task Force will also consider options for potential relocation for residents of areas at the highest risk of recurrent flooding.

The Task Force will be composed of representatives from federal, provincial and territorial governments and the insurance industry. At the same time, Indigenous Services Canada will work with First Nations partners on a dedicated Steering Committee on First Nations Home Flood Insurance Needs to examine the unique context on reserves.

The Government of Canada is also committed to ensuring that broad Indigenous perspectives are included in flood risk management in Canada. The Task Force and Steering Committee will share information with one another, and work closely together to engage with various partners, including with First Nations off-reserve, Inuit, and Métis communities and organizations. Both entities will begin their work by January 2021 and will report on their findings by Spring 2022.

We will continue to help people whose jobs and livelihoods are affected when disasters strike and help people and communities deal with the realities of increased climate-related risks and disasters and ultimately, increase the country’s resiliency to natural disasters. To further support communities in effectively managing, mitigating, preparing, and responding to all sorts of hazardous events, including flooding, Public Safety Canada will also be undertaking a review of the Disaster Financial Assistance arrangements, in order to assess and improve the sustainability of this program.

Further, as committed in the July 2020 Economic Update, the National Disaster Mitigation Program will be extended through to 2022, to cost-share flood mitigation projects with provinces and territories. A call for proposals will soon be launched to continue this important work.”

Quick facts

  • Flooding is the most common and costly occurring natural hazard in Canada, causing over one billion dollars in direct damage to households, property and infrastructure and affecting thousands of Canadians each year.
  • As announced in the Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada is investing in reducing the impact of climate-related disasters, like floods and wildfires, to make communities safer and more resilient.
  • The Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation is tasked with examining a national residential flood insurance program for homeowners living in areas of high-risk flooding and measures for a national action plan to assist high-risk homeowners with potential relocation to safer areas.
  • In the event of a large-scale natural disaster, the Government of Canada provides financial assistance for recovery to provincial and territorial governments through Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA). In order to assess the sustainability of the DFAA, Public Safety Canada is undertaking a review of its terms and conditions.
  • According to an estimate by the Insurance Bureau of Canada, approximately 39 per cent of homeowners had access in 2019 to overland flood insurance. While the availability of flood insurance in Canada has grown since the insurance industry introduced it in 2015, it is mostly homes in low and medium risk areas that have been insured against flood damages. Homeowners in high-risk flood areas cannot access flood insurance because the high costs make it challenging for the industry to offer insurance at an affordable rate for homeowners.
  • According to Canadian Voices on Flood Risk 2020, a report by Partners for Action, only 6% of respondents knew that they live in a designated flood risk area.
RMA Background:

16-20F: Federal and Provincial Disaster Support

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta advocate to the Government of Alberta for continued Disaster Recovery Program funding to support community reslience and enable the relocation of affected property owners where re-construction is impractical or inadvisable.

Click here to view the full resolution.

Government Response:

The Government of Alberta provides disaster financial assistance for uninsurable loss and damage caused by extraordinary disaster events. In Alberta, overland flood damage is one peril where insurance is not reasonably and readily available, making it eligible for financial assistance under the Disaster Recovery Program.

The Flood Insurance and Relocation Project (FIRP) is a federal/provincial/territorial initiative to expand access to overland flood insurance and relocation options for high flood risk properties, which will help Canadians reduce their financial and physical vulnerability to flooding. The purpose of the FIRP is to develop the parameters of viable residential flood insurance arrangements and a relocation action plan through a public-facing report.

The Government of Alberta is committed to improving public safety and disaster risk reduction initiatives that will reduce the social, economic, and environmental impacts of flooding. As part of the multi-disciplinary approach, the Government of Alberta, through the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, is contributing to the FIRP by participating on the Provincial/Territorial Task Team as an active partner. For this project, the Alberta Emergency Management Agency is coordinating input and feedback from departments across the Government of Alberta. Representatives from Alberta Environment and Parks also participate in the task team meetings.

The Government of Alberta will continue to work with the federal government and other jurisdictions towards the development of a flood insurance option and a strategic relocation framework that works for Albertans, especially those for whom insurance is not readily and reasonably available.

Development:

The Government of Alberta response indicates that the Alberta Emergency Management Agency is contributing to the Flood Insurance and Relocation Project’s (FIRP) Provincial/Territorial Task Team. The FIRP is a low-cost national flood insurance plan designed to protect homeowners at high risk of flooding and without adequate insurance protection. The program is also intended to enable the development of a national action plan on flooding, which supports homeowners susceptible to repeat flooding with potential relocation. The core mandate of the FIRP is to create a national insurance plan in Canada; one that seeks to explore options for low-cost residential flood insurance to residents of high-risk areas. The mandate commitment of the FIRP, according to Public Safety Canada, will be fulfilled by creating a Canada-led task force on flood insurance and relocation. The task force would primarily consist of representatives from federal, provincial and territorial governments, as well as representatives from the insurance industry, Indigenous Services, including the Insurance Bureau of Canada. This advisory body is intended to facilitate the creation of a report that would provide a deeper understanding on how to manage, mitigate, and prepare for all sorts of hazardous events, with flooding primarily on the list. A final report on the task force findings is expected in the spring of 2022.

While the GOA’s participation in the FIRP is a positive, the response does not specify the Government of Alberta’s position in relation to the resolution’s focus: advocacy for a national high-risk residential flood insurance program, and long-term funding for flood mitigation programs, project and initiatives.

In March 2022, the Government of Canada announced that the Task Team’s work was nearly complete and would culminate with the release of a report outlining recommendations for a new national flood insurance program later in 2022.

RMA assigns this resolution a status of Accepted in Part, and RMA will follow up with the Government of Alberta to better understand their priorities in relation to FIRP.

Provincial Ministries:
Environment and Parks,
Municipal Affairs
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