Spring flooding cost Ontario and Quebec $223 million | Canadian Insurance

Spring flooding cost Ontario and Quebec $223 million

The IBC says climate change is causing more frequent flooding events

The effects of climate change resulted in two springtime storm and flood events that caused $223 million of insured damage in Ontario and Quebec.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says the first storm, which occurred the first week of April, caused flooding in southern Quebec and wind damage across parts of both provinces. Roads, homes, and businesses were flooded in Quebec as rivers overflowed and sewers backed up. Following the heavy rains, strong wind gusts downed trees and power lines across many areas of both provinces. This storm caused over $106 million in insured damage, says the IBC.

From the archives: Flood stats 2016

The second storm, which occurred at the beginning of May, saw multiple days of heavy rainfall leading to significant flooding across Eastern Canada. The majority of the $117 million in insured damage for this particular event occurred in eastern Ontario and Quebec. Numerous states of emergency were declared in southern Quebec and eastern Ontario as thousands of residences were affected and people had to evacuate from their homes.

“Climate change is causing severe weather events, especially storms involving floods, to happen more frequently and with greater intensity. While the insured damage from the spring floods is significant, the total cost to homeowners and government is not yet known,” says Craig Stewart, the vice president of federal affairs at the IBC, in a press release.

From the archives: World under water

Stewart also says storms like those seen in the spring and summer prove how unprepared North America is for significant weather events. “Flooding coupled with windstorms can cause significant damage in a very short amount of time. Recent events, like Hurricane Harvey in the United States, show how unprepared we are and why it is so important for governments, industry, and consumers to work together to protect residents and communities.”