Experts Combat Community Flooding, Canada’s Costliest Extreme Weather Challenge

Friday, March 31, 2017

Due to the growing number of costly and severe flooding events in communities across Canada, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation (Intact Centre - University of Waterloo), have announced a joint effort to develop a new report on nationally applicable best practices for flood-resilient greenfield community design.Over the past year, with support from SCC, the Intact Centre has engaged a group of national stakeholders—including municipalities, conservation authorities, engineers, developers, homebuilders and insurers—to identify standardization solutions that will lower the risk of overland flooding, storm water flooding and sewer backups in new residential communities.

Examples of community design features that can collectively reduce flood risk include: avoiding floodplains when developing new communities; modeling climate uncertainty and extreme weather events (ice jams, snowmelt, extreme rain) in the design of new subdivisions; protecting natural features (e.g., wetlands) along rivers and streams to slow floodwater; and installing backwater valves to prevent sewage in overloaded sewer lines from backing up into basements.

In support of this national effort, a group of 25 experts from across the country came together on March 24, 2017 in Toronto to discuss flood risk reduction priorities and practical approaches. Based on their feedback, together with additional consultations with relevant subject matter experts, improved residential community design features will be developed. This cross-Canada assemblage of experts demonstrates that identifying strategies to reduce flood risk due to a changing climate is a growing national concern.

Based on these residential flood community design features, SCC and the Intact Centre intend to develop a national standard, or series of standards, that will serve the interests of future new residential home owners, builders and communities. Developing climate-resilient codes and standards is consistent with Canada’s commitment to climate adaptation and a priority under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

"As we improve our understanding of the risks of a changing climate, SCC is proud to work with organizations like the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation to ensure that climate change, climate resiliency and adaptation are considered in Canada's critical infrastructure standards. Given the huge costs associated with flooding in Canada, the standardization solutions that come from this effort will bring great value to Canada and to Canadians."   

John Walter, CEO, SCC


About the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation

The Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation (Intact Centre) is an applied research centre at the University of Waterloo. The Intact Centre was founded in 2015 with a gift from Intact Financial Corporation, Canada’s largest property and casualty insurer. The Intact Centre helps homeowners, communities and businesses to reduce risks associated with climate change and extreme weather events.

About the University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo is Canada’s top innovation university. With more than 36,000 students we are home to the world's largest co-operative education system of its kind. Our unmatched entrepreneurial culture, combined with an intensive focus on research, powers one of the top innovation hubs in the world.

About the Standards Council of Canada

SCC is a Crown corporation and part of the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada portfolio that leads and facilitates the development and use of national and international standards and accreditation services in order to enhance Canada's competitiveness and well-being. For additional information on SCC, visit

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University of Waterloo

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