Investments to be targeted at reducing flood risks
January 16, 2015 Ottawa, Ontario Public Safety Canada
The Honourable Steven Blaney, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, today announced the upcoming National Disaster Mitigation Program to begin April 1, 2015. It will reduce flood-related costs for all levels of government and contribute to establishing conditions for the introduction of a residential flood insurance market in Canada.
Minister Blaney also re-affirmed the support of the federal government to cover disaster costs that exceed what individual provinces and territories could reasonably be expected to bear on their own.
As the Government of Canada shifts towards a proactive disaster relief model that will better protect Canadians and their communities, the new program will help reduce flood-related costs for all levels of government and help protect Canadians in high-risk communities from the costs and heartache associated with reoccurring natural disasters.
In the Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government of Canada committed to providing $200 million over five years, starting in 2015–16, to develop a National Disaster Mitigation Program. The program will be focused mainly on flood mitigation, to better protect Canadians, their homes and communities.
This funding is in addition to the investments made under the New Building Canada Fund. Announced in Economic Action Plan 2013, the New Building Canada Fund provides $14 billion to support significant infrastructure projects across Canada as identified by the provinces and territories, which can include mitigation infrastructure to help prevent natural disasters.
Effective February 1, 2015, the Government of Canada will modernize the current Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements funding formula, which has not been updated in 44 years, by adjusting the eligibility threshold to half the effect of inflation since the program’s inception. The Government of Canada will continue to cover up to 90 per cent of eligible expenses for disaster recovery as requested by the provinces and territories at the most recent Premiers Conference in Charlottetown, re-affirming the support of the federal government to help subsidize the costs of major natural disasters.
Additionally in December 2014, the Government of Canada announced that major federal transfers to provinces and territories will increase by more than $3 billion in 2015-16. Federal transfers to the provinces have increased close to 63% since 2005-2006.
The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadians in their times of need, and these adjustments, coupled with ongoing annual inflation review, will ensure that this critical funding continues to be available for future generations.
- Flood mitigation investments are needed in Canada. Since inception in 1970, the DFAA have been applied to over 210 events, with total payments of over $3.4 billion made to provinces and territories. Of those 210 events, 190 were flood-related, representing more than 85 per cent of all DFAA-funded recovery efforts.
- From 1970-1995, DFAA payments averaged $10 million per year; from 1996 to 2011, the average annual payment grew to $118 million, and increased to $280 million in 2012-2013.
- The cost-sharing ratios that see the federal government cover up to 90 per cent of eligible expenses for disaster recovery have been maintained.
- As of February 1, 2015, the threshold under the DFAA for provinces and territories will be adjusted to meet to half the rate of inflation over the past 44 years. This is consistent with the federal standard; other federal departments are regularly indexed to reflect inflation. To ensure that the program is sustainable for Canadians, beginning in January 2016, the threshold will be indexed to keep pace with inflation going forward.
“To strengthen Canada’s emergency management approach, we are shifting from a reactive model to one that allows us to better identify, plan for, and prevent flood risks and the costs for Canadians that comes with them. Through the National Disaster Mitigation Program, the Government of Canada will provide provinces and territories funding to help share the costs of flood mitigation measures; improving resiliency against floods, which currently account for the majority of payments through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements. Our Government is also making modest adjustments to the DFAA, for the first time in 44 years, to ensure that this funding continues to be available to Canadians in a more sustainable way.”
- The Honourable Steven Blaney, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada
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