Canadian Underwriter

Rising waters: Spring flooding and mould are major worries for Canadians

March 15, 2023   by First Onsite Property Restoration





First Onsite survey explores spring melt, severe rains, and flooding threats

MISSISSAUGA, ON, MARCH 15, 2023/insPRESS/ – First Onsite Property Restoration, Canada’s leading property restoration company, marks the end of winter and first day of spring (next week, March 20) with the release of The Spring Melt, a survey that examines Canadians’ concerns, perceptions, and property readiness amid ever-changing weather patterns.

Commissioned by First Onsite, the survey of more than 1500 Canadian adults found that three-in-five people are worried about the damage caused by severe rains and flooding (58%).

Regional flooding concerns were highest in British Columbia (73%) which endured the historic Pacific Northwest floods in 2021. That catastrophe saw several Southern B.C. communities devastated by rain, rising rivers, road closures, and evacuations. Atlantic Canada, still reeling from Hurricane Fiona (the costliest weather event to ever hit Atlantic Canada) was the second most worried region regarding damage caused by severe rains and flooding (65%).

“One of the biggest threats to property is flooding and water damage,” said Jim Mandeville, SVP, Large Loss North America, First Onsite Property Restoration. “In the spring, when the ground is still frozen, thawing snow and heavy rainfall heighten the risk of water damage to residential and commercial properties.”

Drilling down, the survey also asked people’s disaster-related concerns, and three-quarters of people responded, “I am concerned about the risk of mould after a flooding event.” Incidentally, one quarter of Canadians say their home or workplace has already been affected by mould (24%).

People were also concerned about the cost of major renovations (66%) and their level of insurance (53%).  Meanwhile, twenty-one per cent of Canadians are worried about landslides and mudslides. However, B.C (39%) and Quebec (28%) are much higher than the national average, likely because they are far more prone to major landslide incidents.

See table below:

“The increased occurrence of natural flooding due to weather events is a constant driver for homeowners, businesses and communities to be more resilient and better prepared for tomorrow,” said Mandeville.

Flooding in Canada
Canada’s Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation states that several million homes in Canada are vulnerable to flooding. Overall, flooding has accounted for 40 per cent of weather-related catastrophes in Canada since 1970 according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Some of the recent flooding events in Canada include the Calgary and Southern Alberta Flood, which happened 10-years ago in 2013. This flood cost $1.8 billion in insurance losses and an additional $6 billion in uninsured costs, according to the IPCC.  Other major incidents include the 2013 Southern Ontario Flash Flood, the 2017 Quebec floods, the 2019 spring floods in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick and the 2021 British Columbia floods.

Property damage caused by water related events (natural and mechanical flooding) typically accounts for nearly 70 per cent of all emergency responses for First Onsite.

Protecting property from flooding and water damage.
First Onsite, a company that has been on the frontlines of high-risk situations due to climate change, natural disasters, and weather-related events, provides homeowner and business tips  on preventing property water damage and protecting against the growth of mould and mildew.

Flood awareness
In the spring, when the climate transitions, and frozen ground begins to thaw, wet snow and heavy rainfall intensify the risk of water damage to residential and commercial properties:

  • Water seepage through leaks in the roof or basement foundation after heavy precipitation
  • Burst pipes
  • Blocked or backed-up sewers and drains
  • Overflow from nearby lakes and rivers
  • Pooling of water from thawing snow and ice, because of slow drainage

Reducing the risk of mould growth
The excess water and moisture caused by spring showers and melting snow also leads to another hazard: mould growth, especially in dark, damp spaces. For residential and commercial property owners, it is important to be aware of the environmental triggers that feed mould growth — temperature, moisture, and a lack of ventilation.

On properties where water damage from spring flooding has occurred, mould growth poses a severe threat to the sanitation of a property.

Spring back from damage
Property damage can range from small leaks and damage to interior walls, to completely inundating buildings. If severe, water damage can even put stress on the structural integrity of a property. That’s why it’s so important to get a professional restoration team on your side the moment you notice water damage.

With the right planning and resources in place, businesses and residents can be better prepared to respond to flooding emergencies. Having resources to act quickly will also help prevent damage.

FIRST ONSITE is ready 24/7, 365 days per year to help Canadians protect their property. The company offers free commercial and residential spring preparedness guides. Visit our restoration services page for more information.


About the Spring Melt Survey
From February 22 to February 24, 2023, an online survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of n=1,506 Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum, balanced and weighted on age, gender, region and education. For comparison purposes, a sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was offered in both English and French.

About First Onsite
First Onsite Property Restoration is one of the largest and fastest-growing emergency response planning, mitigation, and reconstruction service providers in North America. First Onsite employs over 2,300 team members and operates from more than 90 locations across Canada, the U.S., and Puerto Rico. With a culture focused on harnessing the human power of its team members and a commitment to doing what’s right, the First Onsite team helps clients restore, rebuild, and rise. First Onsite is a subsidiary of FirstService Corporation. For more information, go to or follow @firstonsite on Twitter and LinkedIn.






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