On Saturday, Toronto was hit with record-breaking rainfall, which caused flooding throughout the city.

In just one day, Toronto broke its extreme daily rainfall record for January, after the city received 59 mm of rain, barely capping its previous record of 58.7 mm, which was set on January 9, 1946.

As a result, the heavy rainfall caused the DVP to close southbound due to flooding with traffic diverting at Bayview and Bloor. Additionally, there was flooding along the Humber River and some townhouses in Richmond Hill were evacuated due to flooded basements.

READ: Budget 2020: What The Average Toronto Property Tax Increase Will Be

Regardless if your home has never flooded before, many homes are still at risk of basement flooding.

Water in your basement is most likely to occur when sewers are overloaded during a heavy rainfall or when snow and ice are melting. However, the good news is that you can take steps to help reduce or prevent it from happening including using the city's basement flooding protection subsidy program.

The City of Toronto offers owners of a single-family, duplex, and triplex residential homes a subsidy of up to $3,400 per property to install flood protection devices. Eligible work includes:

  • Installation of a backwater valve
  • Installation of a sump pump
  • Severance and capping of a home’s storm sewer or external weeping tile connection

The City says disconnecting the downspouts from your property’s eavestrough system is not eligible for a subsidy.

READ: What To Do If Your Home Floods And How To Prevent Flooding In Your Basement

How to Apply

Download the Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program application form

Applying for the installation of a backwater valve and sump pump:

  1. You will need a Building Permit to install a backwater valve, which will be inspected by Toronto Building staff once it is installed.
  2. If installing a backwater valve and sump pump, complete and sign the Consent to Enter Form and include it with your Permit application. It will authorize Toronto Building staff to inspect and verify that both the backwater valve and sump pump have been installed according to Program requirements.
  3. Installing the flood protection device(s) according to program requirements is an important part of ensuring your eligibility for the subsidy.

For backwater valve installation:

  1. Obtain a permit from Toronto Building. If installing a backwater valve and sump pump, attach the Consent to Enter Form to your permit application. Permits can be obtained from Customer Service Counters.
  2. Request an inspection once the installation is complete. Toronto Building staff must inspect the installation of all backwater valves. Do not enclose or cover the valve before this occurs. This inspector must be able to confirm whether the installation meets the applicable Building Code requirements.
  3. Complete the Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program application form.
  4. Include the original invoice(s) with your application. Invoice(s) must show an itemized cost breakdown of all work applicable to this subsidy and must be clearly marked “paid in full.” If your contractor uses a licensed sub-contractor, please also include original invoices from the sub-contractor.
  5. Mail the completed application form with the required documentation to:Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program

    City of Toronto

    PO Box 15266 STN B RM B

    Toronto, ON  M7Y 2W1

  6. City staff will review your application and determine whether you are eligible for a subsidy. If your application is incomplete or you have not included the proper documentation, it will not be processed and all documents will be returned to you. If your application is denied, you will be notified by mail.

Selecting a contractor

Make sure before the work starts, you verify that your contractor has a valid City of Toronto business license using the Business Licence Lookup tool or by phoning 416-392-6700.

If your contractor does not have a valid City of Toronto license, you will be denied funding for the work completed.


When installing a backwater valve, the city recommends including an alarm, so that you know when the device is activated. When your backwater valve is activated, it works to keep sewer water from backing up into your basement, but it also keeps wastewater from your home from flowing to the sewer.  When your backwater valve is activated, any water sent down the drain (through toilets, sinks laundry etc.), may end up in your basement.

As rainstorms and power outages can accompany one another, you may also want to consider battery-power back-up for your sump pump.

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