Skip to main content

How to keep your business afloat during a flood

Floods are the most frequent natural hazard in Canada. No matter where your business is located, flooding of some sort is almost always a possibility. By taking the following proactive steps, you can minimize the potential damage to your business.

Plan
  • Include a disaster plan in your health and safety program.
  • Talk to your insurer about Flood Insurance options.
  • Have a flood emergency kit containing items such as a flash light, important phone numbers, copies of insurance documents, First Aid Kit, a cell phone, etc.
  • Create a communications plan for your employees, suppliers and customers in case of an emergency. Northbridge has an emergency contact template that can help you plan. Download it here!
  • Designate an emergency flood contact. 
Prepare
  • Prepare your property for flooding
    Learn how to shut off your gas, electricity, and water.
  • Prepare your building
    Install sump pumps with one-way valves in wastewater drains.
  • Prepare your employees
    Discuss your business emergency plan with employees.
  • Prepare your business
    Make a plan for a temporary location, in case your business is forced to relocate.
Take preventative measures
  • Install battery backup units for the sump pumps. Power supplies are often affected during floods. 
  • Check your building(s) ahead of time and repair anything that needs attention.
  • Check gutters and downspouts to ensure water is channeled away from your building.
Stay prepared
  • Flood Insurance is the ultimate protection for your business. Your insurance company can provide flood preparation materials and help keep your business from going under.
    •  CFIB has partnered with Northbridge Insurance who is proud to offer CFIB members excellent services to help businesses stay safe, strong, and successful even amid disaster and uncertainty. 
What to do after a flood
  • Secure the property; be cautious about hazardous materials.
  • Document the damage; take pictures and a detailed inventory of everything, especially items that were damaged.
  • Be cautious about contaminated floodwaters; anything absorbent touched by flood water should be thrown out.
  • Keep all records and bills of any flood-related work you had to undertake.
  • If you do not own your building, talk to your landlord and review your lease to see who pays for repairs. It is important to note that if the contract is silent on this, it will not always be the landlord’s responsibility to pay for flood repairs. 
  • Have a lawyer review your lease to find out whether you are responsible for repairs and when your landlord is responsible.

Additional resources

It is nearly impossible to completely flood-proof a business, but appropriate preparation and planning can lower your business' risk of damage and reduce business interruptions. 

If you have questions about flood mitigation options for your area, please contact your CFIB counsellor.