Regional Forum

Preparing for the Next Big Flood: Minimizing Homeowner Flood Risk in the Toronto Region
Centre for Social Innovation
April 3, 2017

The need to invest in more resilient infrastructure is being increasingly recognized by the federal and municipal governments, however homeowners of our region have been slow to take personal action, despite a growing risk to their homes. A recent poll completed by Public Safety Canada highlighted that 74% of Canadians have not done anything to protect their home from flooding. Coupled with this is the fact that the July 2013 Toronto region flood caused $850 million in property damage—one of the most costly natural disasters in Ontario history.

On April 3rd, CivicAction convened organizations from across sectors to discuss strategies to engage and activate Toronto region homeowners to minimize their vulnerability to flood risk.  Grounded in the homeowner experience, the forum highlighted lessons learned from a variety of perspectives and opportunities to drive action by homeowners.  Presentations by the following individuals helped inform the discussion:

  • His Worship Rick Goldring, Mayor of Burlington
  • Monika Federau, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Intact Financial Corporation
  • Chris Tyrrell, Executive Vice-President and Chief Customer Care and Conservation Officer, Toronto Hydro
  • Deborah Martin-Downs, Chief Administration Officer, Credit Valley Conservation
  • Blair Feltmate , Head, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation

A report summarizing key findings will be produced by CivicAction and the Insurance Bureau of Canada over the coming weeks.

Report: Ensuring We Get It Right

In 2016, the federal government committed $60 billion in new infrastructure funding over the next 10 years – a critically important investment in the future of Canada.

In response to this new chapter in our nation’s infrastructure story, CivicAction – in partnership with Deloitte – conducted a series of roundtables and interviews with civic and community leaders from across the GTHA, representing the not-for-profit, private, labour, academic, and municipal and provincial government sectors.

The report Ensuring we Get it Right is the outcome of this process, and provides a set of recommendations to help guide sound infrastructure investment decisions:

  1. To be globally competitive, we must be globally connected: the GTHA can be globally competitive if we can strengthen our trade-enabling infrastructure, ease congestion, and increase international investment in local enterprise.
  2. Build the skills to build the assets: investing in the skills to drive Canada’s current and future infrastructure priorities will leave a dual legacy for our communities.
  3. It takes a village: community partners have diverse expertise and valuable resources to offer and can accelerate innovation and inclusion for quick wins and sustainable solutions
  4. The need for speed: we need to be more efficient in order to take advantage of current market conditions and more focused on minimizing disruption from changing political priorities.
  5. The future begins right now: investments in resilient infrastructure will allow our communities the flexibility to adapt and scale to shifting needs over time.

In the interest of unlocking the untapped potential of future investments, consultation participants also reinforced some foundational concepts to guide investment decisions:

  1. Inclusiveness must be woven throughout the infrastructure investment process.
  2. The federal government needs to empower local leadership and autonomous decision-making.
  3. All investments should drive economic growth and improve quality of life.

Read the full report here:

CivicAction’s work is made possible through the support of our core funding sponsors. Special thanks to our infrastructure funding partners:


And our pro bono partners: