New report identifies priorities for protecting Canadians against flooding

Guelph, ON (Sept. 22, 2014) – A new report based on input from a wide range of stakeholders maps out steps in a journey toward making Canada more resilient to flooding. Newly released Partners for Action: Priorities for Advancing Flood Resiliency in Canada (PDF) identifies the key areas of focus that should constitute the way forward to better protect Canadians and their property.

The research was commissioned by The Co-operators and undertaken by Dr. Blair Feltmate and Dr. Jason Thistlethwaite of the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo. Previously, Phase I of the research engaged senior executives in the property and casualty insurance industry who explored the risks and opportunities related to insuring homes against overland flood damage, something that is not currently available in Canada. The findings are summarized in the study, Assessing the Viability of Overland Flood Insurance: The Canadian Residential Property Market (PDF).

Phase II engaged a broader group of stakeholders representing all levels of government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and a variety of industries, who identified the following three priority areas where action could most effectively reduce the risk of flood damage:

  • Flood Plain Mapping – Develop new flood plain maps with projections that anticipate changes in the intensity and duration of future precipitation.
  • Preparedness of Cities – Assess the preparedness of major cities for extreme weather and flooding.
  • Built Infrastructure – Factor extreme weather and flood potential into new infrastructure designs and retrofits.

During the upcoming Phase III, the focus will be on Preparedness of Cities, the one point that is not currently being addressed by any level of government or other organization.

“Canada is well behind other nations when it comes to managing the risk associated with overland flooding,” said Rob Wesseling, executive vice-president at The Co-operators. “It is a complex issue that requires a multi-faceted response, which is why we brought together such a variety of stakeholders. Together, we’ve made very good progress on identifying the issues and mapping out a way forward to better protect Canadians and their property from the ever-increasing risks of extreme weather.”

Over the past several months, stakeholders from all three levels of government, NGOs, conservation authorities, and several industries including banking, real estate developers and builders, insurance and reinsurance contributed to the discussion. Approximately 60 experts from this wide-ranging group came together in June at the Partners for Action Roundtable. The results are captured in the report, which is publicly available in the Sustainability section under the About Us tab at

About The Co-operators

The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $36 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean’s magazine.