Canadian Voices on Flood Risk 2020

Findings from a national survey about how we should manage an increasingly costly and common peril

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As extreme weather events including heavy rainfall and flooding are becoming increasingly common across the country, understanding Canadians perceptions on flood risk is now more important than ever. In 2020, Partners for Action conducted a bilingual national survey with the objective of hearing directly from Canadians about their opinions on flooding. As follow-on to our 2016 survey, P4A invited 2,500 Canadians across all 10 provinces, living in designated flood risk areas, to share their views on issues such as flood risk, property buyouts for flood risk management, responsibility for flood prevention, and how the costs of flood recovery should be distributed.

Read more results from this survey and our recommendations in the full report, “Canadian Voices on Flood Risk 2020: Findings from a national survey about how we should manage an increasingly costly and common peril” (PDF).

Key Findings:

  • 97% of respondents believe that homeowners have some responsibility to protect their property from flooding.
  • Only 6% of respondents know they live in a designated flood risk area.
  • The majority (81%) of respondents have not reviewed flood maps for their community.
  • Almost half of respondents (47%) are not concerned about flooding, while most do not have flood insurance (57%) and have not taken steps to protect their property, such as installing a sump pump (55%).
  • Respondents believe the responsibility of communicating flood risks falls to multiple stakeholders, including all levels of government, insurance companies and real estate professionals.
  • Opinions about property buyout programs are mixed, but signal that this is an important strategy for governments to consider: half agree that homes at risk of repeat flooding should be offered buyouts before flooding happens, but most believe buyouts should be voluntary rather than mandatory, and that the costs should be distributed across all three levels of government.