OTTAWA, May 16, 2016 — As the state of emergency in Fort McMurray continues, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is monitoring the situation closely and will work with its partners to support those affected by the devastating forest fires. Specific information as to what properties have been damaged is still very limited but CMHC is working to better understand its exposure as more information becomes available.

Mortgage Loan Insurance

CMHC has provided lenders with a number of options to support CMHC-insured homeowners affected by these unfortunate events. Homeowners are encouraged to contact their financial institution at the first sign of difficulty to discuss their individual situations and options.

Mortgage loan insurance protects lenders against mortgage default. CMHC mortgage loan insurance does not provide coverage for force majeure. Lenders are required to maintain standard all-risk insurance to protect against loss or damage by fire to buildings and contents. CMHC’s potential loss is therefore limited to claims resulting from the indirect economic consequences of the event such as a decline in property value.

A detailed summary and explanation of CMHC’s exposure is outlined in the backgrounder below.

Claim losses to CMHC are not expected to be significant as lenders work directly with borrowers to address any required repairs, recoup losses under existing property insurance policies and access any disaster relief, emergency funds and/or other assistance as available and appropriate.

CMHC will continue to monitor the situation and will consider additional default management tools to further assist lenders as the rebuilding situation unfolds. As Canada’s national mortgage loan insurer, CMHC’s continued presence will play a stabilizing role and help the residents of Fort McMurray meet their housing needs.

Assisted Housing

CMHC provides funding to housing providers under a variety of operating agreements directly and through the Province of Alberta under federal-provincial agreements. CMHC also has ongoing operating agreements with three First Nations in the affected area, the Fort McMurray First Nation, the Chipewyan Prairie First Nation and the Fort McKay First Nation, who receive subsidy funding from CMHC under the On-Reserve Non-Profit Housing Program.

CMHC has not received any reports of damaged or destroyed federally subsidized social housing units or to the three First Nation communities in and around the Fort McMurray area.

Should federally subsidized social housing units become damaged or destroyed, CMHC will work with housing providers, the Alberta Ministry of Seniors and Housing and the Alberta Emergency Management Agency to rebuild and/or relocate residents.

CMHC is keeping lines of communication open with the First Nation. Should homes on reserve become damaged or destroyed, CMHC will work with the First Nation, their insurer, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and Alberta Emergency Management Agency.


CMHC Securitization ensures an adequate supply of funds for mortgage lending and the availability of mortgage credit in Canada through the guarantee of National Housing Act Mortgage-Backed Securities (NHA MBS) and Canada Mortgage Bonds (CMB).

The securitization exposure to mortgages in Fort McMurray is mostly through large diversified financial institutions and no NHA MBS Issuer appears to be overly concentrated in the area or incapable of absorbing potential losses. Consequently, the probability of any securitization-related losses to CMHC is remote.

For lenders with securitized loans, CMHC is having discussions to explain workout techniques that will allow the loans to remain in the securitized pools.

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.

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Information on This Release:

Jonathan Rotondo
CMHC Media Relations


  • CMHC’s has insured approximately 8,400 loans totalling $3.7 billion in Fort McMurray and the surrounding area affected by the fires.
  • CMHC’s insurance-in-force is the total of its homeowner, portfolio and multi-unit insurance.
    • Homeowner insurance: loans secured by residential properties of 4 or fewer units. CMHC has approximately $3.1 billion of homeowner insurance-in-force in Fort McMurray and the surrounding area.
    • Portfolio insurance: pools of low ratio mortgages secured by residential properties of 4 or fewer units. CMHC has approximately $0.4 billion of portfolio insurance-in-force in Fort McMurray and the surrounding area.
    • Multi-unit residential insurance: loans for the construction, purchase and refinancing of multi-unit residential properties consisting of 5 or more units. CMHC has approximately $0.2 billion of multi-unit residential insurance-in-force in Fort McMurray and the surrounding area.
  • Approximately 10% of loans are located in areas of serious fire damage or complete loss, 77% in areas with some damage and 13% in areas where the condition of the neighbourhood is to be determined.
  • Approximately 50% of CMHC’s homeowner and portfolio insured loans in Fort McMurray have at least 20% equity in their properties.
  • Approximately 10% of CMHC’s homeowner and portfolio insured loans in Fort McMurray have equity of 5% or less in their properties.
  • CMHC’s securitization maximum potential risk exposure in Fort McMurray and the area affected by the fires is approximately $3.8 billion at the time of NHA MBS issuance.

Text Version

Report of Loss by Neighborhood — Fort McMurray
Neighbourhood Damage/Loss
Abasand Serious Loss
Beacon Hill Serious Loss
Dickingsfield Some Loss
Downtown Some Loss
Gregoire Small or No Loss
Parsons Creek Small or No Loss
Prairie Creek Small or No Loss
Thickwood Some Loss
Timberlea Some Loss
Waterways Serious Loss
Wood Buffalo Serious Loss

CMHC — May 13 2016
Damage/Loss Source: RM Wood Buffalo, Alberta Government, Satellite Imagery

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Date Published: May 16, 2016