In My Opinion: Local MPP addresses growing dangers around flooding in Private Member’s Bill

Mary-Margaret McMahon is the Liberal MPP for Beaches-East York.

By MARY-MARGARET McMAHON

MPP BEACHES-EAST YORK

Hello Beautiful Beaches – East Yorkers!

It has been an honour to represent you at Queen’s Park for the past nine months and I am looking forward to continuing to bring your strong and passionate voices to the Chamber to help build a better Ontario.

I am proud to share my upcoming Private Member’s Bill (PMB) with you and graciously ask for your support!

I jumped back into politics primarily due to the Climate Emergency and to that end my first Private Members’ Bill is centred around Climate Action.

Flooding is the most common natural disaster in Canada and now costs Canadians more than any other climate issue.

Flooding is the leading cause of public emergency in Ontario. Ten per cent of homes in Canada are no longer insurable relative to flood risk and that number is steadily growing.

Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo found that the average cost of a basement flood totals approximately $43,000! The Insurance Bureau of Canada found that insurance claims from severe weather have more than quadrupled over the past 15 years. These are cold, hard facts that can no longer be ignored.

In our own community, we have experienced much flooding over the years especially south of Queen Street East.

Many residents have told horrific stories of massive amounts of sewage and water filling their basements. It is heartbreaking to hear about these ordeals and they are happening far too often. The 100-year storms are no longer every 100 years.

That is why I wish to combat these financial, physical, and emotional hardships in one fell swoop with my PMB #56 Fewer Floods, Safer Ontario Act, 2022!

I have been working closely with experts in the field. Essentially, Bill 56 enacts several measures related to public awareness of flooding issues.

My Bill proclaims the fourth week in March each year as Flooding Awareness Week. It also requires the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to publish educational information on a government website.

Finally, the Bill requires infographics on basement flooding mitigation measures to be sent to taxpayers along with their municipal tax bill. Many of these measures are subsidized by municipalities including Toronto.

It has been found that at least 70 per cent of people who received such a handout in the mail actioned two or more items to fit their home to prevent flooding within six months of receiving it!

There is a high cost to inaction. Colossal price tags attributed to flooding clean-ups across Canada range from $5 billion to $9 billion.

For every $1 invested in climate adaptation, there is a savings of $3 to $8 in cost avoidance and realized locally.

We have been forewarned time and time again to address this crisis by countless provincial and federal organizations. It’s high time we started listening carefully and taking immediate action.

Emergency preparedness is a non-partisan issue that affects everyone.

The weather of the past is no longer a good predictor of the weather of the present or the weather of the future. Anywhere it rains, there is a risk for flooding!

If passed, Bill 56 will be a Win-Win for everyone.

It would be great to have your support. Please contact my office at mmcmahon.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org or 416 690-1032 to find out how you can get involved and be of help.

P.S. We also should NOT be building on floodplains nor in wetlands, but that is a topic for another day!


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