Canadian Voices on Changing Flood Risk: Findings from a National Survey

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A recent study led by the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3) and Partners for Action (P4A) at the University of Waterloo demonstrates that, although the risk of floods may be on the rise, risk awareness from homeowners is lacking.

The researchers surveyed 2,300 Canadian households and found that in general, Canadians are not aware of their flood risks and are unprepared for flooding events.

Key Findings from the report:

  • Due to rising costs, the federal and provincial governments are finding ways to reduce flood risks and share responsibility for protection and recovery with Canadian homeowners.
  • Canadians are ready to take on a greater role in flood protection — 83% believe that homeowners are responsible for personal protection.
  • Despite this sense of duty, less than 30% of Canadians are taking actions to protect their property from flooding and show limited interest in flood insurance.
  • This inaction is a result of a gap in flood risk awareness. Only 6% know they live in a designated flood risk area, and only 21% believe that the risk of flooding will increase over the next 25 years.
  • Canadians need and want more information to be actively engaged in flood management and protected from flood risks. There is a major opportunity for transparent information sharing.
  • Over 90% of homeowners think that flood maps should be made publicly available, sellers of property should be required to disclose flood risk, and property owners should be notified if their home is located in a flood risk area.


  • Governments must inform Canadians about what is expected of them, what could happen to them if a flood occurs, and which actions are best for their home.
  • A national flood risk strategy should be developed that encourages property-level flood protection by communicating the risks of flooding for homeowners through publicly available flood risk maps and disclosure during real estate transactions.
  • Governments, insurers and homeowners should work together to develop policies that ensure insurance is available by sharing financial responsibility for flood damage in high risk areas.

“Property owners clearly feel a duty to protect their own homes and investments, but need to be empowered with information that motivates action.” says Shawna Peddle, Director of Partners for Action.

Overall, the study highlights the need for collaborative communication and education to increase and improve flood risk awareness.

Click here to read the full report.

Know your risks! FloodSmartCanada is helping Canadians prepare for floods. To learn more visit, FloodSmartCanada