Those interested in flood-related statistics have a new release from Statistics Canada at their disposal, entitled Census of Environment: A snapshot of Canada’s growing coastal communities and their natural environment, released January 26.

The report states that in 2021, 14.9 per cent of people in Canada lived within 10 kilometres of a coastline. Of these, they say more than 3.2-million resided on the Pacific coast, while more than 2.2-million lived on the Atlantic coast.

“Canada’s coastal population grew by 5.3 per cent from 2016 to 5.5-million people in 2021. Approximately three-quarters of this growth occurred on the Pacific coast,” they write.

As an example, they point to migration to the southern coastal area of British Columbia. In the Georgia Depression ecoprovince there, the population was 207,820 higher than five years earlier. They say the Maritime provinces accounted for most of the remaining increase.

“Communities in many coastal areas of the country are at risk from rising sea levels, especially those living in low-lying areas. In 2021, over twice as many people were living within less than five metres above sea level on the Pacific coast (318,225 people) compared with the Atlantic Coast (142,492). Within one kilometre of the coast, however, the population living at this elevation is more evenly split.” 

Statistics Canada says the release is based on enhanced mapping of seagrass and salt marsh areas.