TRCA Pleased with Recommendations in Report from Ontario’s Special Advisor on Flooding

After reviewing the report released yesterday from the Province of Ontario’s Special Advisor on Flooding, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is pleased to see that the report underscores the important work of conservation authorities while highlighting important areas where the Province can better support TRCA’s efforts.

Containing 66 recommendations to strengthen flood resiliency in Ontario, the report highlights the vital role of TRCA and other conservation authorities in preventing and managing flooding and other natural hazards.

Created to safeguard and enhance the health and well-being of watershed communities, TRCA is supportive of the Province’s efforts to meet shared objectives for addressing flood risk in Ontario’s watersheds. As part of its mandate, TRCA undertakes a myriad of activities — from floodplain mapping, to implementing provincial flood plain policy and regulations related to land-use and infrastructure planning with our municipal partners, to flood forecasting — to protect people and property from flooding and conserve natural resources.

On September 10, 2019, TRCA staff had the opportunity to meet with the Province of Ontario’s Special Advisor on Flooding, Doug McNeil, to share the specific challenges and opportunities of our highly urbanized jurisdiction. TRCA staff also took Mr. McNeil on a tour of some of the most flood-prone areas in the Toronto region, as well as to see successfully completed and in-process flood protection projects firsthand.

Ontario special advisor on flooding Doug McNeil joins TRCA staff on tour of flood prone areas
Ontario’s Special Advisor on Flooding, Doug McNeil, joined TRCA staff in September on a tour of flood-prone areas and flood protection projects.

TRCA also provided formal comments and recommendations to the Province concerning planning and flood risk in Ontario, and is pleased to see that many of our recommendations on natural hazard management are reflected in Mr. McNeil’s report.

“Increasing our region’s resiliency is more important than ever as we continue to experience severe flooding in our jurisdiction,” said Jennifer Innis, Chair of TRCA’s Board of Directors. “I am so proud of the diligent efforts of TRCA staff in working with the Province of Ontario to highlight actions needed to mitigate the effects of flooding.”

In particular, TRCA staff were pleased to see overall recommendations in the report that reflected some of their comments, including recommendations that:

  • acknowledged the success of current provincial policy and the expertise of conservation authorities and municipalities in working to reduce flood risks, as well as recommendations to strengthen and update provincial legislation, policies and guidelines;
  • acknowledged the specific challenges and unique solutions of flood risk reduction in highly urbanized areas;
  • encouraged the continuation and expansion of funding programs such as the National Disaster Mitigation Program and Water and Erosion Control Infrastructure Program, which TRCA has successfully leveraged to accelerate flood risk reduction initiatives; and
  • explored other funding mechanisms such as local improvement charges.

TRCA is committed to increasing the awareness of flood risks in its jurisdiction and contributing to Ontario’s flood resiliency, and looks forward to working with the Province of Ontario as they continue to review the Special Advisor on Flooding’s report and recommendations.