A special advisor’s report to the province points to a combination of weather conditions as the cause of this spring’s record-setting flooding in several communities, including some locally.

Those conditions include colder-than-average winter and spring, higher-than-average snowpack, lack of significant winter thaw, rapid snow melt and significant rain events in the spring.

The advisor also found that nothing pointed to human error or the negligent operation of water control structures.

Mattawa, Jocko Point and Sturgeon Falls all dealt with severe flooding this past spring.

In July, Doug McNeil was named Special Advisor on Flooding.

“Mr. McNeil looked carefully at the core components of the Province’s approach to emergency management relative to last spring’s flood season and found that steps taken by individuals, municipalities, dam owners, and other agencies were effective in reducing further potential damage to communities,” said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “We are pleased by this conclusion, and we appreciate Mr. McNeil’s practical advice for the Province and other parties to help us to become more flood resilient.”

“This has been a difficult time for many of our communities and we know that for many Ontarians impacted by the floodwaters, life still hasn’t returned to normal,” said Vic Fedeli, MPP for Nipissing, “We understand the devastating impacts flooding has on our communities and that’s why we are taking action to improve the province’s resiliency to flooding.”

Since the spring, the government has taken significant steps to help increase the province’s resiliency to flooding:
– Initiated procurement for its first-ever broad, multi-sector provincial climate change impact assessment that will help the province, municipalities, Indigenous communities and other local partners make more informed decisions to keep communities and people healthy and safe.
– Opened the Green Stream infrastructure fund of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), enabling smaller municipalities to access approximately $200 million in federal and provincial funding to invest in critical water, waste water and storm water projects.
– Launched a $1 million pilot project under the Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance program to help municipalities rebuild damaged infrastructure to make it more resilient to extreme weather.
– Made it faster for property owners to get the approvals they need to repair flood-related damage to shorelines.

Ontario has already committed to taking the following actions to address recommendations from the Special Advisor’s report:
– Modernize regulations under the Conservation Authorities Act to have conservation authorities focus on their core mandate of protecting people and property from flooding and other natural hazards.
– Launch a comprehensive review of Ontario’s natural hazard technical guides and guidelines related to flood forecasting and warning.
– Ensure the continued investment of over $4.7 million in the hydrometric (stream gauge) network to enable flood forecasting and flood warnings that help municipalities better prepare for flood events.

The Province is reviewing the remaining recommendations along with its partners and will work together to increase the awareness of flood risks and help build Ontario’s resiliency to flooding.


(File photos by station staff)


Filed under: jocko-point, mattawa, sturgeon-falls