Liberals pledge $150M for climate change preparedness flood mapping

Sep 25 2019, 5:12 pm

The federal Liberals unveiled promises Wednesday to help homeowners prepare for damage from climate change with low-cost national flood insurance and zero-interest loans for green home renovations.

Leader Justin Trudeau was in the yard of a home in Delta, BC, in greater Vancouver, to announce additional climate-change-related measures.

“We recognize that people are facing increased flooding because of the effects of extreme weather events and increased impacts of climate change,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau said helping people figure out whether or where to rebuild after a flood is a difficult conversation, so his mitigation plans will start with $150 million to complete flood mapping in every province and territory, to identify land that’s at greater risk of inundation.

He is also promising a low-cost flood-insurance program, delivered via the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and a national plan to help homeowners relocate if they are at risks for repeated flooding.

“We recognize first of all that many people can’t get insurance, flood insurance any more,” he said. “We know that the government does need to step up.”

Parts of eastern Ontario, western Quebec, and New Brunswick were hit with major flooding for the second time in three years last spring, prompting a number of experts and governments to suggest climate change requires a rethink of disaster planning. Quebec Premier Francois Legault said earlier this year his government was capping flood compensation at a total of $100,000, but would offer people $200,000 in one-time help to move to less flood-prone areas.

For those who have suffered floods or forest fires that forced them from their homes, or left them unable to work, Trudeau said a re-elected Liberal government would create a national employment-insurance disaster-benefit program.

“If you’ve just been through a wildfire or a flood you should be focused on rebuilding your life, not on how to pay for the damage or how to pay the bills after time away from work,” Trudeau said.

He was flanked by a number of BC Liberal candidates, including Carla Qualtrough, his public-services and procurement minister, in whose riding the announcement was made.

Trudeau also announced plans for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 for homeowners or landlords to make green renovations, ranging from new windows and furnaces to the addition of solar panels or geothermal energy systems. The government would also support training programs for workers to do the renovations.

The Liberals claim the total cost of all the measures announced Wednesday would be $370 million starting in 2020-21, rising to $432 million by 2023-24, most of which would come from CMHC. The Liberals said about $70 million would come from general revenues in 2020-21 to pay for the training program and flood mapping, dropping to $20 million by 2023-24.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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