Provinces asking feds for $138 million to help move, buy out flooded properties

Flood-ravaged provinces are asking the federal government to provide almost $138 million to move or buy out affected homeowners, according to new data that gives a glimpse into the national costs of helping residents leave floodplains.

Only four times in the past decade have provinces turned to the federal treasury for help to move homes, twice in New Brunswick, and once each in Quebec and Yukon.

In New Brunswick's case, the federal government picked up more than 80 per cent of the $1.8 million spent to buy out a combined 36 properties after flooding in 2008 and 2010.

Public Safety Canada says provinces and territories have asked for $137.9 million in federal money to help cover costs related to 10 floods, but the dollar figure is only an estimate and doesn't include this year's.

The department says it expects to get more requests for financial help to relocate homes as the frequency of extreme flooding increases and wants to know how much provinces and territories have spent on it without federal help.

All that data will feed into a debate governments are having about whether it's better to move people off floodplains rather than repeatedly pay for repairs.