Perspectives in Flood Risk Assessment and Management

Two workshops, entitled Perspectives in Flood Risk Assessment and Management (PDF), were held in Toronto in conjunction with CatIQ’s Canadian Catastrophe Conference on February 3rd, 2017. The interactive workshops brought together 110 participants for in-depth discussions on flood risk assessment, management and mitigation in Canada.

Participants were invited to share perspectives towards recommendations for effective flood risk management across Canada and to continue towards a shared goal of building more resilient communities. Three priority areas were identified to move flood risk management forward in Canada:

  1. Data and Shared Understanding – Various actors (insurers, governments, academia) hold different components of the data needed to understand and visualize flood risk. Sharing hazard and exposure data in a collaborative way that protects proprietary interests will allow for better understanding of risk towards effective and integrated flood risk management. Common understanding of flood hazard, risk, exposure, and vulnerability can lead to informed decision-making, and more approachable and consistent flood insurance policy wording.
  2. Homeowner Education and Awareness – Canadians are not flood risk-aware and do not know their options for shared responsibility for flood risk management, leading to ineffective uptake of insurance products, but also of incentives offered by municipalities and insurance for installation of flood-protection measures in the home, such as sump pumps and backwater valves. A national-level outreach program, focussing on risk and ways to reduce that risk, is needed for informed decision making. This program will only succeed with the active participation of governments, academia, industry, and others to develop a cohesive strategy with numerous tested methods for outreach and communications.
  3. Proactive Cross-sector Collaboration – Many diverse actors are involved in flood risk management in Canada, but there typically is not a focus on working together, often due to competition, unaligned goals and objectives, and lack of understanding/knowledge of who is working in this space nationally. A holistic flood management strategy that brings these groups together to share expertise and responsibility for flood risk management in Canada will streamline work that is underway, remove redundancies, and move our shared goals forward.

Partners for Action was created to address these three components of effective flood risk management in Canada. Emphasis in 2017 will be placed on a national flood risk communications program, and we welcome partners to join us in a collaborative movement towards proactive partnership and co-creation of data and shared information.