VICE News

Homeowners Can't Expect the Federal Government to Cover Disaster Relief Forever

Who will pay for the floods?
May 9, 2017, 6:34pm

The worst flooding to hit eastern Canada in 50 years will undoubtedly come at an enormous cost, both to home-owners and to all levels of government. But as climate change fuels more-and-more natural disasters across the country, there is growing concern that bailing out those affected by the disaster might be simply unsustainable. As of right now, Ottawa still has no clear idea of who's footing the bill. We have not, in the past few days, had any focus on the cost issues," Ralph Goodale told reporters Monday. "The key thing is to make sure the resources are there to keep people safe."

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If history can tell us anything, the cost of this week's flooding in eastern Canada will likely be paid for by a mix of insurance and government disaster relief funding. When the 2013 floods evacuated 100,000 people from southern Alberta, the cost was estimated at more than $6 billion. That figure was shared by homeowners, the provincial and municipal governments, plus more than $1 billion in federal assistance from the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements program and $1.7 billion in insurance payments. But with the risk of flooding increasing due to climate change and increased development in flood-prone areas, federal and provincial governments are looking for ways to limit the amount of payout, and are encouraging homeowners to buy private insurance instead.

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