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2019 Spring Flood

Flood information

The response of Ottawa residents to the Spring Flood of 2019 has been outstanding. Nearly 15,000 residents have volunteered to help fill and then remove 1.5 million sandbags. The City of Ottawa thanks volunteers for their overwhelming support.

On this page you will find information for flood-affected residents as well as information for donations.

If you require any further assistance related to the 2019 flood, please call 3-1-1.

Support and assistance for homeowners

Canadian Red Cross

Thanks to the support of the Government of Canada and generous Canadians, the Canadian Red Cross is providing assistance to disaster-impacted residents and to community groups working towards the recovery of those impacted by the flooding in Ontario. 

Financial assistance is only one of many steps taken by the Red Cross to ensure support reaches those who need it most. Other support being provided includes information and referral services and emotional support.

Registration with the Canadian Red Cross has now closed. If a person has outstanding urgent needs as a result of this disaster that are not being met, they are encouraged to reach out to the Red Cross. In some cases, the Red Cross will refer individuals to other community agencies who can offer appropriate assistance.

Canadian Red Cross
Ottawa Emergency Management
613 740-1900 and Press “0”

Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians

Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians (DRAO) is a program that can help you recover costs after a natural disaster. The province of Ontario may activate DRAO for damage to private property if there’s a sudden, unexpected natural event, such as a flood or tornado that causes costly and widespread damage in your area.

If you are eligible, you could be reimbursed for:

  • clean up expenses
  • costs to repair or replace essential property
  • basic emergency expenses like evacuation travel costs

Find out if you’re eligible and apply for financial help after a natural disaster:

https://www.ontario.ca/document/guidelines-apply-disaster-recovery-assistance-ontarians-drao

https://www.ontario.ca/page/apply-disaster-recovery-assistance

Emergency social assistance

In times of crisis and where no other financial resources are available, emergency assistance may be available through the City of Ottawa’s, Community and Social Services Department.

Examples of a crisis may include a health-related crisis, a fire, flood, severe storm or long power outage resulting in damage to personal and household items.

Emergency assistance provided during a crisis is generally for health-related items such as:

  • Medicine
  • Transportation
  • Personal care items
  • Vision care – glasses
  • Diabetic, surgical, incontinence and ostomy supplies
  • Mobility devices

If you are experiencing financial challenges, City of Ottawa staff are available to talk to you.  We may ask you for some personal information to assess the best way to help you.

To reach Employment and Social Services by phone, call 3-1-1

Between 8:30 and 4 pm on weekdays

  • Press 1 for service in English or 2 for service in French
  • Press 4 for Social Services or Daycare
  • Follow the prompts to apply for financial assistance

Evenings and weekends

  • Call 3-1-1 and follow the prompts to speak with a city staff person
  • The 3-1-1 message may also provide information about what to do if there is an emergency that impacts many city residents

Please note that any funds issued to you by Employment and Social Services, Ontario Works program cannot also be claimed to your insurance, Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians (DRAO) and/or any other resources that may be available.

Health and safety

Electrical safety

It is important for residents to remain aware of current and forecast water levels on the Ottawa River. Although the Ottawa River Regulatory Committee is reporting the river has reached its peak, water levels are expected to remain above seasonal levels and will pose a risk for some time. Water levels pose a particular risk when it comes to the energization of your home.

Residents should not consider reconnecting utilities until the risks associated with flooding are no longer a concern.

If power for residents has been disconnected, contact an Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) Inspector. Each home will have to be assessed before being reconnected by Hydro One. Homes that have experienced more serious flooding will have to hire a licensed electrical contractor. Residents should hire only a licensed electrician and avoid door-to-door salespeople. Hydro One and the ESA are responsible for restoring power and have more information about how to reconnect your home including a list of licensed electrical contractors in your area.

Returning home after a flood

If you have water contact or damage to your electrical system:

  1. If water in your basement has risen above the electrical outlets, baseboard heaters, furnace or electrical panel, DO NOT enter the basement until the power has been disconnected by the local electric utility.
  2. If your electrical system has been affected, your utility may not be able to restore power to your property until damage has been assessed and necessary repairs have been made.
  3. Hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor to evaluate your home’s electrical system to determine if it is safe to have the local electric utility restore power to your home.
    1. The contractor will file for a permit with the ESA so there is a record of the work.
    2. When the contractor completes the work, the contractor will notify ESA and the ESA Inspector will confirm work has been done safely and power can be reconnected.
    3. ESA will inform the utility that it is safe to reconnect.
    4. The utility will reconnect when it is able to do so.
    5. Ask the contractor for a copy of the ESA Certificate of Inspection for your records and insurance.

If you are using a portable standby generator

  • Clearly understand your electricity requirements to ensure the unit is the correct size and voltage for your application.
  • Purchase the appropriate generator accessories, including:
    • an approved transfer device or switch
    • a properly sized connector cord and plugs
  • Never use a generator indoors; use it in a dry area outdoors and away from open doors, windows and vents.
  • Check the generator and all component parts to ensure that they have been approved by a recognized certification agency.
  • Never connect portable generators to electrical appliances or wiring components that have been affected by flood water.
  • If you have to use extension cords, make sure they are the grounded type with three prongs and rated for how you’re planning to use them. Coiled cords can get extremely hot; always uncoil cords and lay them flat.
  • Gasoline and its vapours are extremely flammable. Allow the generator engine to cool at least 2 minutes before refuelling and always use fresh gasoline.
  • Standby generators that are permanently installed into your electrical wiring must have a transfer device to protect your home and the utility system by preventing generator power from flowing back into the utility system.
  • Do not backfeed your permanent electrical system with a portable generator without a proper transfer switch.

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) and Hydro One are the technical organizations responsible for providing electricity to your homes and work independent of the City of Ottawa. The City has reached out to each of these organizations to obtain the answers to some of your questions.

When will my hydro be reconnected?

Before the Electrical Safety Authority and Hydro One can reconnect hydro, staff must ensure local roads are stable enough to support a hydro truck.

The condition of neighbouring properties can affect yours. This means that your house may be clear, but nearby homes are not clear. If others have water in their homes, it could create a safety hazard for residents or crews responding to the flood.

The Electrical Safety Authority and Hydro One will not be able to reconnect power until it is safe to do so.

If my electricity/hydro has been shut off due to flooding, who do I contact about getting it turned on again and reenergized?

Please visit the Electrical Safety Authority’s website or contact them at 1-877-ESA-SAFE for further information. The Electrical Safety Authority has information on what to do on returning home after a flood, which includes hiring a Licensed Electrical Contractor. The City recommends that you keep receipts for any fees you may be charged.

There are individuals coming to my home claiming to be contractors and electricians to evaluate my electrical system – how do I know if they are legitimate or not?

There have been reports of companies coming door-to-door to offer services to residents. It is recommended that you visit the Electrical Safety Authority’s website or contact them at 1-877-ESA-SAFE for further information prior to obtaining unsolicited services.

What should I do before the power is restored?

Appliances that were left plugged in must be unplugged. This includes lights, appliances, and electronic equipment. (Note: stoves do not need to be unplugged).

If appliances, electrical outlets, switch boxes or fuse/breaker panels have been flooded, do not energize or return to service until they have been inspected by a licensed electrical contractor. For more information, visit the Electrical Safety Authority's website or contact them at 1-877-ESA-SAFE.

If Enbridge has shut off gas due to flooding, who do I contact about getting it turned on again?

  1. Contact Enbridge at 1-877-362-7434
  2. Enbridge will come and do a property assessment and determine if it is safe to reconnect the gas supply
  3. Once inspection has passed, the homeowner must contact an approved HVAC contractor
  4. The HVAC contractor will connect all gas-fueled appliances (furnace, hot water tank, dryer, stove, etc.)

Utility contacts

Public health

There are several ways floodwater can enter your home and pose health or safety risks. Visit Ottawa Public Health for information about staying safe during and after a flood.

Being prepared and having a plan will help residents deal with the stress and disruption that go along with flooding events.

Ottawa Public Health can provide assistance relating to any mental health issues and also has information on the flooding event. Visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca or call 613-580-6744.

Visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca for information on how to prevent Injury and Illness when cleaning up. Here you will find information on:

  • Safe food handling
  • Safe drinking water
  • Septic systems
  • Cleaning up your home

Tips to prevent sewer backups and flooding

Learn how to prevent sewer backups and basement flooding.

Rebuilding or repairing flood damage in your home

You may have questions about how to proceed with rebuilding or repairing flood damage in your home. Get more information about Building Permits.

Donations

The Salvation Army is accepting donations of clothing, furniture and household items in anticipation of increased requests from residents affected by flooding. You can donate items in person at Salvation Army thrift stores.