During heavy rain, the sewers can become overloaded. It is essential that homeowners take appropriate action to reduce the risk of basement flooding.

Owners of a single-family, duplex or triplex residential home can apply online for 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. Disconnecting the downspouts from your property’s eavestrough system is not eligible for a subsidy.

Before proceeding to the online application, please review all sections below so that you can confirm that your application meets the program criteria. 

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Backwater valve

  • Installation or replacement of backwater valve.
  • Installation of alarm for backwater valve.

    Two images of a backwater valve: one where the flap in the valve is open during normal operation and one where it is closed to block backflow from entering the home.
    Click to enlarge.

The City offers a subsidy of up to 80% of the invoiced cost, up to a maximum of $1,250, to help offset the cost of installing a backwater valve. This subsidy is regardless of the number of devices installed at the property, including eligible labour, materials and taxes.

A Building Permit is required to install a backwater valve. Before work starts, verify that your plumber has a valid City of Toronto business licence using the Business Licence Lookup tool or by calling 416-392-6700. The valve must pass inspection by the City of Toronto building inspector in order to be eligible for the subsidy.

It is critical that backwater valves are maintained and regularly inspected according to product specifications.

You must also consent at the time of the building inspection or at the request of the City:

  • To provide City access to the backwater valve to verify that installation has been completed in accordance with the requirements and conditions of the Program.
  • To the City taking photographs, video and digital images of backwater valves.

About backwater valves

Backwater valves are designed to close the sewer line during periods of heavy rain to prevent water from entering your home. When the valve is closed you should not use any plumbing fixtures (i.e. toilets, sinks, dishwasher, washing machine) because water will not drain and will back-up into your home.

Sump pump

  • Installation or replacement of sump pump.
  • Installation of alarm for sump pump.
  • Installation of back-up power for sump pump.

    The plumbing system connected to a sump pump. One half of the picture shows the sump pump, the sump pump tank and access cover. The other half of the image shows the exterior discharge pipe exiting the access cover onto the outside of the home onto a patch of grass.
    Click to enlarge.

The City offers a subsidy of up to 80% of the invoiced cost, up to a maximum of $1,750, to help offset the cost of installing a sump pump. This subsidy is regardless of the number of devices installed at the property, including eligible labour, materials and taxes.

Be sure to maintain basement flooding protection devices according to manufacturer instructions. Keeping these devices in good working order is an important step in protecting your home against basement flooding.

About sump pumps

Install a properly-sized sump pump to help pump water collected by the weeping tile system to an area outside. Make sure the sump pump empties onto a permeable surface at least two metres from the foundation wall.

Sump pumps can lose power during severe storms, so you may wish to consider a battery back-up. They also need to be inspected and maintained according to product specifications to ensure optimal performance.

The City offers a subsidy of up to 80% of the invoiced cost, up to a maximum of $1,750, to help offset the cost of installing a sump pump.

Foundation drain (weeping tile) pipe severance and capping

  • Disconnection of foundation drains (weeping tiles) from the City’s sewer system by severing and capping the underground sewer connection.

The City offers a subsidy of up to 80% of the invoiced cost, up to a maximum of $400 including eligible labour, materials and taxes, to help offset the cost of installing a sump pump.

  • You must be the registered owner of a single-family residential, duplex or triplex property within the City of Toronto.
  • The property must not have exceeded the lifetime maximum subsidy amount for each eligible installation.
  • The subsidy is available only to existing homes, not homes in the planning stages or under construction
  • The downspouts from the property’s eavestrough must be disconnected from the City’s sewer system or you must have applied to the City for an exemption.
  • All front yard paved areas of the property, including parking pads, must comply with the City’s Zoning By-law requirements.
  • You must submit your application within one year of completion of the installation of the flood protection device.
  • Your contractor(s) and any sub-contractor(s) who performed the installation of flood prevention device(s) must possess a valid license from the City of Toronto for the installation work, at the time of installation.
  • Original invoices from the licensed contractor(s) and any sub-contractor(s) who performed the installation of the flood prevention device(s) must be provided with your application.
  • You must not have any outstanding taxes or debts owed to the City of Toronto at the time your application is processed.
  • Submitting an application does not guarantee a subsidy. Subsidies are issued on a “first-come, first-serve” basis, and are subject to annual funding approved by City Council.

Residents can apply online or download the Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program application form.

Applying for the installation of a backwater valve and sump pump

  • You will need a Building Permit to install a backwater valve, which will be inspected by Toronto Building staff once it is installed.
  • If installing a backwater valve and sump pump, please 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.
  • 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, start at step 1 and for all other eligible work, start at step 3

  1. Obtain a permit from Toronto Building. If installing a backwater valve and sump pump, please attach the Consent to Enter Form to your permit application. Permits can be obtained from Customer Service Counters.
  2. Request an inspection once 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 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.

For online applications only. If you experience any technical issues with the online form, please email basementflooding@toronto.ca

Please verify that you have the following items before proceeding with your online application to the Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program:

  1. Original electronic invoice(s) for the flood protection device(s) from your licensed contractor(s) and any licensed sub-contractor(s), which includes:
    • The address where the installation of the flood protection device(s) occurred
    • The name and address of the licensed contractor(s) and sub-contractor(s), where applicable
    • Detail and itemization of each applicable flood prevention device installed and its installation cost separately on the invoice(s) of the licensed contractor and sub-contractor(s), who performed the work
    • The total amount paid, clearly marked “paid in full”
    • The installation date of the flood protection device(s)
  1. A valid City of Toronto Business Licence number provided by your contractor for installation of the applicable flood protection device(s).
    •  Details on the type of business licence that is required can be found under “selecting a contractor tab below
    • If you are having trouble finding your contractor’s business licence, you can visit the Municipal Licensing and Standards business lookup tool to find the licence number or by calling 416-392-6700
    • If it appears that your contractor does not have a proper business licence, you will need to contact Municipal Licensing & Standards, Investigations Services, Bylaw Enforcement Officer via 311, or 311@toronto.ca. 311 will connect you with the appropriate district office, where you can speak with the officer.
  1. Apply online for backwater valve portion of subsidy: an approved inspection of the backwater valve, as well as the permit number associated with the installation.
  2. Apply online for sump pump portion of subsidy: a photo of the sump pump, and a photo of the discharge pipe at the exterior of the property.

Once your application is submitted, you will receive a submission confirmation email. It can take up to 10 weeks to receive the subsidy.

Important: Please keep digital or print photocopies of all documents submitted for your personal records. 

Homeowners are strongly encouraged to conduct due diligence before hiring a contractor. It is recommended you obtain a minimum of two quotes as well as references before hiring a City of Toronto licensed contractor.

Before work starts, 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.

Different types of contractors are licensed to perform different types of eligible work:

Contractor Licence Backwater Valve Sump Pump Pipe Severance and Capping
Plumbing Contractor (T94) x x x
Plumbing and Heating Contractor (T92) x x x
Drain Contractor (T87) x x x
Building Renovator (T85) x x

To keep your flood prevention devices in good working order, it is essential to maintain them according to the manufacturer’s directions.

When installing a backwater valve, consider 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.