MISSISSAUGA, ON, May 7, 2024 – New survey data released today by First Onsite Property Restoration, finds that half of Canadians (50%) are worried about tornadoes and severe winds, while 28 per cent have fears of hurricanes (led by Atlantic Canada at 64%).

First Onsite released the numbers as the second leg of its annual weather and property survey examining Canadians’ concerns, perceptions, and property readiness regarding disasters.

For context on tornadoes in Canada, Western University’s Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP) recorded 86 tornadoes (including a fire-generated tornado) across Canada during the 2023 season, while the previous year saw 129 – a Canadian record for the most tornadoes documented in a year.

First Onsite is using its platform to provide advocacy and awareness around public safety during Emergency Preparedness Week (May 5-11), a national event supported by Public Safety Canada.

In terms of hurricanes in Canada, there have been many over the years, but Fiona is freshest in the collective consciousness. Fiona made landfall in September, 2022 and would go down as one of the most brutal weather events to impact eastern Canada, affecting Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and P.E.I. The hurricane recorded winds over 165kph, claimed 25 lives, and caused over $845 million in damage, making it one of the costliest extreme weather events in Canada to date. See First Onsite’s case study about the company’s response to Hurricane Fiona here.

Climate change and insurance.

In the survey, two thirds of Canadians believe climate change is driving up cost of their home or business insurance. That fear is not unfounded. Disaster claims in Canada have more than quadrupled over the past 15 years, accounting for $3.1 billion of insured losses in 2022 and the same amount in 2023. This is up from $400 million in 2008, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

Seven-in-10 Canadians (69%) are concerned about the loss of valuables and personal items, and a similar number (72%) worries about the cost of major renovations and repairs resulting from weather-related disasters.

“Volatile weather has put many Canadians on edge, and for a good reason, said Jim Mandeville, SVP of large loss for First Onsite. “When disasters strike, knowing what to expect can make a world of difference – that is why planning and preparedness are so essential.”

Preparedness, safety and facing evacuation surveyed back in March

In terms of preparedness and safety, First Onsite survey’s first leg released in March, found that two thirds of Canadians (64%) doubted their level of preparedness in the event of a disaster, eight-in-10 were concerned about personal or family safety and 63 per cent feared having to leave their home or community if a disaster struck.

Ensuring our communities are equipped with robust emergency response plans

From natural disasters to unforeseen crises, having a solid plan in place can make all the difference. It’s also important to take time to review and update disaster plans once a year. For businesses, this should also include having a partnership with a property restoration company in place before any type of disaster occurs. “The actions business owners and homeowners take before a storm make all the difference in the recovery afterwards,” said Mandeville.

Resources for businesses and homeowners

First Onsite provides resources such as a Disaster Supply Kit Checklist and a Small-Business Disaster Recovery Checklist.

About the Weather and Property Survey

From February 22 to February 24, 2023, an online survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of n=1,506 Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum, balanced and weighted on age, gender, region, and education. For comparison purposes, a sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was offered in both English and French.

About First Onsite: North America’s Trusted Leader in Property Restoration

First Onsite Property Restoration is one of the largest and fastest-growing emergency response planning, mitigation, and reconstruction service providers in North America. First Onsite employs over 2,500 team members and operates from more than 100 locations across Canada and the U.S. With a culture focused on harnessing the human power of its team members and a commitment to doing what’s right, the First Onsite team helps clients restore, rebuild, and rise. First Onsite is a subsidiary of FirstService Corporation. For more information, go to firstonsite.ca or follow @firstonsite on and LinkedIn.

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