Each year, municipal authorities in Québec are notified of about 100 landslides and incidents of unstable ground. They often occur in spring and autumn, and they can happen more frequently during extreme weather.

Landslides occur more often in clay soil and near watercourses.

The following factors can cause landslides:

  • Erosion at the bottom of a slope
  • Heavy or prolonged rain
  • Rapid snowmelt
  • Steep slopes
  • Type of soil (e.g. clay, sand)
  • Filling, excavation or draining work, cutting down trees

What to do before

Prepare an emergency kit.

Ask the municipality about the risk of landslides in your area.

Avoid carrying out work that could increase soil instability, for example:

  • Fill work
  • Installing an above-ground pool 
  • Storing materials near the top of a slope
  • Undercutting a bank to make your yard bigger
  • Excavating the base of a slope to install a shed or in-ground pool
  • Directing water toward a slope or embankment, for example to drain a pool or to direct water from eavestroughs

Report any abnormalities on your lot to the municipal authorities, for example:

  • Cracks on a slope
  • Bulge on a slope
  • Rockslide
  • Unusual seepage of water on a bank

What to do during

If you are indoors:

  • Go to the part of the building opposite the landslide and take shelter under a solid piece of furniture.
  • Hold firmly onto an object that is solidly anchored until all movement has stopped.

If you are outdoors:

  • Quickly move away from the probable path of the landslide. Stay far away from river banks, trees, electrical wires and utility poles.
  • Do not approach the landslide area, as it often remains unstable.

Evacuate your home if it has been damaged or you are in danger, or if the authorities ask you to leave. If you don't know where to go, contact your municipality. For more details, consult the page Evacuate your home.

What to do after

If the authorities allow it and there is no risk to your safety, you can go home. It's best to go during the day, when problems and hazards are easier to see.

Make a list of the damage and take photos or videos as proof. Notify your municipality, insurance company and mortgage lender of the damage. For claim purposes, keep all receipts or proofs of purchase for damaged property.

Pay attention to stress reactions after a disaster:

  • Anxiety
  • Apathy or loss of energy
  • Aggressiveness
  • Increased alcohol or drug use

Appropriate psychological guidance can help you cope with responsibilities stemming from the situation. Contact Info-Santé at 811 and select Info-Social to speak with a social worker. This confidential service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Financial assistance