Foolishly optimistic? Canadians need to prepare for extreme weather events

Emergency Preparedness Week is the perfect time to take precautions against extreme weather

Toronto, ON (Apr. 30, 2015) – Although extreme weather is on the rise, Canadians are still optimistic about their ability to deal with the impacts of these events, according to the RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study. Yet, while Canadians say they feel prepared, many are not planning to take preventative measures to protect their homes from extreme weather this year.

It comes as no surprise that extreme weather events are on the rise with heavy rainfalls, severe snowstorms, ice storms and floods increasing in prevalence and intensity across the country. In some regions of Canada, weather events that used to occur every 40 years are now happening every six years.(1) Yet, despite extreme weather being on the rise, Canadians are still optimistic about their ability to cope with some of the impacts of these events.

According to the eighth annual RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study, the majority of Canadians feel prepared to deal with extreme weather events such as severe snowstorms (70 per cent), severe thunderstorms (56 per cent) and ice/hail storms (55 per cent). While only 36 per cent of Canadians feel prepared for flooding, the majority are confident in their ability to cope with personal stress and the safety and security of their family.

“Although Canadians feel prepared to deal with the adverse effects of extreme weather, the amount of damage caused by weather incidents increased 650 per cent in Canada between 2009 and 2012,” says Paula Bandi, senior product manager, Home, RBC Insurance. “Based on these findings, it appears Canadians may have a relatively high level of optimism when rating their level of preparedness.”

Over the past five years, water has replaced fire as the main cause of damage to Canadian homes. Despite this risk, the survey found that many Canadians do not have plans to take precautionary measures to prevent water damage to their home this year. What’s more, the number of Canadians taking preventative measures against water damage has decreased significantly from previous years.

Preventative Measures: Fast Facts





Maintain eavestroughs and downspouts




Landscaping such as grading




Install downspout extensions and splash pads




“It’s alarming to see such a steep decline in Canadians’ willingness to take precautionary measures to protect their homes,” adds Bandi. “Extreme weather events are inevitable and Canadians need to take proactive steps to protect their home from extensive property damages.”

With Emergency Preparedness Week around the corner, RBC Insurance offers some additional tips to help Canadians safeguard their home and family against extreme weather:

  • Create a detailed home inventory of all of your belongings inside and outside of your home and garage. In the event of a claim, you’ll have an itemized list of all of your important contents.
  • If you keep items in the basement, store all important belongings like artwork, old photographs or mementos, and electronics off the floor or consider moving them to another part of the home.
  • In parts of Canada where there is still snow, safely clear snow from roof and foundation walls to prevent water from entering the home.
  • Have an emergency preparedness kit with all supplies required to survive 72 hours without help or electricity, including water, food and medications.
  • Prepare and rehearse an emergency evacuation plan and ensure your family knows what the plan is.


1. Insurance Bureau of Canada.

About the 2015 RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study

The 2015 Canadian Water Attitudes Study included an online survey administered by GlobeScan between January 5 and January 25, 2015. It included a sample of 2,242 Canadian adults from GMI’s Canadian panel. Weighting was employed to balance demographics, to ensure the sample’s composition reflects the adult population according to Canadian Census data, and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. Results were weighted by gender, age, region and community size. The sample included a minimum of 200 respondents in each of Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Vancouver and Winnipeg, and 300 in Toronto. The margin of error for a strict probability sample for a sample of this size (n=2,242) would be �2.2 per cent 19 times out of 20.

About RBC Insurance

RBC Insurance®, through its operating entities, provides a wide range of travel, life, health, home, auto, wealth and reinsurance products and solutions, as well as creditor and business insurance services to individual, business and group clients. RBC Insurance has more than four million clients globally. We are one of the largest Canadian bank-owned group of insurance companies, and among the fastest growing insurance organizations in the country. RBC Insurance employs more than 3,000 employees, and is the brand name for the insurance operating entities of Royal Bank of Canada.

SOURCE: RBC Insurance