Ontario Names Special Advisor on Flooding

Springtime brings welcome warmth but fears of flooding in Attawapiskat and Kashechewan - Photo by Rosiewoman Cree
Springtime brings welcome warmth but fears of flooding in Attawapiskat and Kashechewan - Photo by Rosiewoman Cree

OTTAWA – The Ontario government has created a Special Advisor on Flooding. John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, announced that Doug McNeil has been named Ontario’s Special Advisor on flooding. Mr. McNeil will advise the province on ways to reduce the impacts of flooding and ensure communities can recover quickly.

“We heard from people across the province and saw first-hand the damage caused by flooding in so many communities,” said Minister Yakabuski. “We want to help Ontarians protect what matters most, and the Special Advisor will help better prepare our province for flooding in the future.”

Flooding is a serious problem that is becoming increasingly common as Ontario experiences more frequent extreme weather events. The province held Flooding Engagement Sessions earlier this year in Muskoka, Pembroke, and Ottawa to hear from municipalities and industry leaders on how to better prepare for and respond to floods. The Special Advisor will build on input from those sessions as well as feedback from the public.

A major rainstorm in Toronto yesterday left many roadways completely submerged. Flooding in Northwestern Ontario last week led to a washout of the Trans-Canada Highway west of Vermilion Bay. The increased impact of climate change is hitting hard across the province.

The Special Advisor will assess current roles and responsibilities of governments, agencies and organizations involved in flood management, including any opportunities for improvement; review feedback received; identify focused recommendations, and ensure all recommendations are consistent with the province’s ability to implement them.

The government is also making it easier for property and homeowners to take immediate action when flooding happens. Property owners can apply online for a work permit to repair eroded shorelines and conduct erosion control immediately.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has launched a new Surface Water Monitoring Centre webpage with access to flood early warning messages. This will help property and homeowners prepare for and respond to flood conditions and take action to stay safe and reduce flood damage by responding to early warnings in advance of an emergency.

“It is important for the people of Kanata-Carleton and across Ontario to have accurate information about flooding and resources they can access when they need it,” said Minister Fullerton. “We want to help the people of Ontario work on their properties in the most efficient way possible.”