Managed retreat through property buyouts is widely regarded as an effective disaster risk reduction strategy. Designing property buyout programs involves several key policy considerations, which ideally balance efficiency, social acceptability and political feasibility. This policy brief argues that the effectiveness of managed retreat could be strengthened in Canada by identifying priority areas to target, drawing lessons from past property buyout programs and building supportive partnerships between governments, private sector firms and non-governmental organizations.

  • Jason Thistlethwaite is a former CIGI senior fellow and an associate professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo.

  • Daniel Henstra is a former CIGI senior fellow and an associate professor of political science at the University of Waterloo.

  • Anna Ziolecki is adjunct professor and director of Partners for Action at the University of Waterloo, an applied research network of collaborators from academia, government, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations, who are committed to advancing flood resiliency in a changing climate. Anna has conducted interdisciplinary research on many contemporary policy issues, including property buyouts, municipal stormwater management programs and related government economic incentive programs, vulnerable populations and natural disasters, and challenges of communicating extreme weather events to the public.