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What The Federal Election Climate Change Platforms Mean For Insurance

Parliament Hill Ottawa

The effects of climate change are getting more apparent every day and voters this election are taking note. Climate change is also beginning to have a very real impact on Canadian citizens, and that could also have an effect on your insurance.

This year, half a million people in Eastern Canada faced power outages and many had unexpected property damage when Hurricane Dorian battered the east coast. Climate change means there'll be more intense weather patterns, which may force you to turn to your home and auto insurance providers more often.

Do Insurers Track Climate Change?

Insurance companies have more than thirty years of data up their sleeves and the trends aren't positive.

In 1983, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reported that there were two natural disasters that produced about $88.3 million in damages (in 2018 dollars). In 2018, there were six times as many. In fact, there have been 12 natural disasters in each of the last three years. In 2016, the insured losses amounted to $5.26 billion; in 2017 the total was $1.26 billion; and in 2018 it was $2.07 billion.

This year, the IBC is already reporting 900 million in damages, with three months still left in 2019.

Unfortunately, Canadians don't always have the insurance they need to protect themselves from some of these natural disasters. One of the best examples is flood insurance, which is one type of disaster which many people are not sufficiently insured for.

So far only the Liberal Party of Canada has touched on that issue, proposing a low-cost flood protection plan for people who don't have sufficient coverage already.

Statistics Show That Canadians Care About Climate Change

For the first time, climate change has become one of the largest issues for Canadian voters. Nineteen percent of those surveyed in a CBC poll said that climate change was the most worrisome issue ahead of the election.

That means climate change was second only to the cost of living, which 32 percent of said was their biggest concern.

Another survey, conducted by Angus Reid in August, showed that 69 percent of Canadians say climate change should be a top priority for whichever leader wins the election.

What will each party do about Climate Change?

Here's a quick breakdown of each party's attitude towards climate change:

  • The Liberal Party of Canada has committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. They want to set legally binding five-year milestones to achieve that. They also want to cut taxes in half for companies that have zero emissions. If successful, they plan to set monetary incentives for people to buy certified zero-emissions homes and ensure all federal buildings run on clean energy by 2022.
  • The Conservative Party of Canada wants to set emissions standards for major emitters and force those that emit more to invest in certified green research. They say they'll encourage the use of green products like wood and low-carbon cement to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings. They also plan to work with farmers to use their land and fertilizers more efficiently.
  • The New Democratic Party (NDP) wants to adopt ambitious, science-based methods to reduce greenhouse gasses. They want to maintain carbon pricing and make sure all new buildings are net-zero emissions ready by 2030. They also want to ensure that all federal vehicles are electric by 2025, and have incentives for auto manufacturers to build more electric vehicles.
  • The Green Party also wants to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and have a 60 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. They say they'll reject all new proposals for pipelines, or coal, oil or gas drilling or mining, and cancelling the Trans Mountain pipeline. They also want to invest in renewable energy so that 100 percent of Canada's electricity comes from renewable sources by 2030.