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Canadian collaboration for flood risk awareness gains ground

  • Canadian collaboration for flood risk awareness gains ground
    Image: Pixabay

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The Co-operators
The Co-operators Group Limited is a leading Canadian, diversified, integrated, multi-line insurance and financial services co-operative with more than $41 billion in assets under administration.

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The Co-operators, a Canadian financial services and insurance co-operative, has announced multi-year funding for the Partners for Action network at The University of Waterloo, Faculty of Environment. The $600,000 will support Partners for Action in its continued efforts to inform Canadians about the changing nature of flood risk and equip them with the tools and knowledge needed to prepare, adapt and build their personal and community flood resilience.   

This announcement comes at a time when the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather continues to capture global attention, and with environmental risk accounting for three of the top five risks of the World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report 2019. In Canada, impacts of extreme weather like flooding continue to bring significant financial, emotional and social costs to communities. Flooding, for example, has surpassed fire as the costliest cause of damage to Canadian homes according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, without accounting for uninsured losses or immeasurable damages to mental health or emotional well-being.

Despite a growing urgency for Canadian communities to adapt to, prepare for and mitigate flood risk, a significant awareness gap remains, with a 2017 report by Partners for Action finding that 94 per cent of Canadians living in flood risk zones did not know they were at risk.

"Flooding is a serious risk for Canadians. We need strong partnerships across sectors to enable individuals and communities to build resilience to flood impacts," says Jean Andrey, Dean, Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo. "Through our applied research and collaboration with a wide range of organizations, we are working to understand the needs of Canadian communities, with the goal of overcoming barriers to flood resilience."

The renewed funding from The Co-operators will enable Partners for Action to facilitate increased risk awareness and improved decision-making to help Canadian communities become more resilient to flooding.

"Climate change is a complex global challenge requiring collaborative, coordinated solutions," says Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "As risk experts, we have an important role to play in informing communities of the changing nature of risk. Through our continued support of Partners for Action, we're helping Canadians better understand and adapt to flood risk."

A critical component of Partners for Action's efforts is its emphasis on cross-sector engagement of researchers, all levels of government, businesses and NGOs. By sharing best practices, challenges and insights across diverse stakeholders, Partners for Action is committed to facilitating the development of collaborative solutions.

"As an organization serving the most vulnerable, the Canadian Red Cross values the importance of diverse perspectives and voices in our program design and delivery," says Shawna Peddle, Director of Disaster Risk Reduction for the Canadian Red Cross. "The important work we are doing as a member of the Partners for Action network and with The Co-operators is vital to understanding the needs and experiences of disaster-impacted people and guiding our approach to helping Canadians understand and reduce their risk for flooding."

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