OTTAWA – A report from the parliamentary budget officer predicts that storms and floods, driven in part by climate change, will cost the federal disaster fund $902 million a year over the next five years, well above past averages.
It says climate change is likely a factor in the severity of disasters, especially when it comes to costly flooding on the Prairies.
The report says the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements can expect to spend $229 million a year to deal with damage from hurricanes and storms, with floods adding another $673 million a year.
The report says the high cost of flooding is partly due to the lack of flood insurance for individuals in Canada, as well as problems with floodplain regulations in the Prairie provinces, which account for most of the disaster costs over the last 10 years.
Over the last 20 years, the annual cost of weather disasters has risen sharply.
The average cost to the federal disaster fund has risen from $54 million a year (in adjusted 2014 dollars) for the 1970-94 period to $291 million between 1995 and 2004 and $410 million between 2005 and 2014.