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

In an emergency or a disaster, you are the first person responsible for your safety (French only) and that of your family, as well as safeguarding your property. In the event of a disaster, however, municipalities are responsible for helping the people affected and for taking the necessary measures.

When a municipality's response capacity is insufficient, the Gouvernement du Québec provides assistance (French only) by deploying government resources to facilitate the return to normal, based on what is provided for in Québec’s national civil protection plan.

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.

If you are in your car: 

  • Watch for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks and other indications of possible debris flow. 

What to do after

Stay away from the area where the landslide tooks place until the authorities indicate that the situation no longer represents a danger.  

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 your reactions and those of your loved ones after experiencing a disaster:

  • Anxiety, distress or frequent crying
  • Apathy or loss of energy
  • Aggressiveness
  • Difficulty concentrating or confusion
  • Increased alcohol or drug use

Psychosocial support is available to you. Psychosocial intervention professionals are available to support, advise and direct you to resources tailored to your needs or those of your loved ones. Call Info-Social, at 811, and select option 2 to speak with a professional. This service is free and confidential, and it is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For more informations on the possible reactions after a disaster and on ways to help you, see the Getting better following a disaster page.

Financial assistance

Last update: December 27, 2019


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