It was with great interest that Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) read the Canadian Infrastructure Report Card released yesterday by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). The FCM, which released the findings of its study on the aging of the municipal infrastructures in 123 Canadian cities, attracted the attention of insurers, especially its findings on wastewater infrastructure.
The study, carried out together with three industry partners, the Canadian Construction Association (CCA), the Canadian Public Works Association (CPWA) and the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE), reflects the findings of insurers in Quebec.
“Since last year, IBC has visited cities in Quebec to make municipalities aware of the costs related to water damage, which totalled close to $400 million in 2011 in Quebec alone. The FCM’s findings that at least a quarter of wastewater treatment plants require repairs or major upgrades are not surprising,” noted Johanne Lamanque, Vice-President, Quebec, at IBC.
A solution to the problems of sewer overflow
IBC has developed an infrastructure risk assessment tool which allows municipalities to measure the probability of their infrastructures failing, which could result in sewers backing up. This is a pan-Canadian project, and some dozen municipalities took part in the pilot project, including London and Hamilton, Fredericton, Moncton and Bathurst, St. John, Newfoundland, Winnipeg, and Coquitlam, British Columbia. No Quebec municipality has taken part in the project so far.
“Insurers are concerned about the consequences of such a situation. Clearly, this issue could have negative consequences on the availability and cost of home insurance for certain citizens, if the stakeholders concerned do not work to improve infrastructures,” reiterated Johanne Lamanque.
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