Canada to Flood Victims: Live Someplace Else

Canadian officials are encouraging some flood victims to move and limiting financial aid after disasters.
September 12, 2019

In response to rising costs of natural disasters, Canadian officials are encouraging residents in certain areas to find another place to live and limiting financial aid after disasters.

This situation is playing out currently in Gatineau, a city that is prone to major flood events. If damage from an April flood exceeds 50 percent of the value a home damaged in the city, residents of that home will be offered money and instructed to leave. Some residents are willing to accept the deal, but others have resisted.

In Canada, homes in flood prone areas have been removed through mandatory buyouts, when they are accepted by homeowners. Residents who decide to stay are typically offered one more payment to rebuild, but no future financial assistance if a flood damages their property again.

READ: Canada Tries Forceful Message for Flood Victims (NY Times) (subscription)

In 2015, Canada made it harder for lower levels of government to get federal money after disasters. The following year, British Columbia said flood victims who had chosen not to buy private flood insurance would be ineligible for government aid. This year the federal government went further still, warning that homeowners nationwide would eventually be on their own. “You can’t repeatedly go back to the taxpayer and say, ‘Oh, it happened again,’” said Public Security Minister Ralph Goodale.


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