Minister Blair appoints advisory panel to review post-disaster financial assistance program
March 22, 2022 - Ottawa, Ontario
Communities across Canada are experiencing more extreme weather events and natural disasters than ever before. Climate change is accelerating the frequency and severity of events like wildfires, flooding, and winter storms, which continue to disrupt lives, cause damage to critical infrastructure, and impact our supply chains. The Government of Canada is committed to reducing the impacts of natural disasters, supporting Canadian communities in adapting to climate change, and providing timely and effective assistance for those who have been affected as they recover and rebuild.
Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, announced an advisory panel that will review and make recommendations to update the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) program.
The DFAA program provides financial assistance to provincial and territorial governments when response and recovery costs from natural disasters exceed what they could be expected to bear on their own. The increase in the frequency and cost of natural disasters in recent years has led to the growing cost of the program. The DFAA program review is being launched to ensure that an updated, sustainable system continues to be available to provinces and territories for disaster recovery.
The eight-member advisory panel chaired by Becky Denlinger, former Deputy Minister for Emergency Management in British Columbia, is a diverse group of experts with experience in the public sector, academia, non-profit, Indigenous communities, and the private sector. The panel will meet between now and September 2022 to review Canada’s approach to post-disaster financing and reflect on how best to align these efforts with broader disaster mitigation and climate adaptation work. The panel is tasked with providing recommendations to the Government of Canada on how to improve the sustainability and long-term viability of disaster financing in Canada, improve DFAA program administration, and reduce disaster risks. The work of the panel will also include meaningful engagement with provinces and territories, Indigenous representatives, and other key stakeholders in the emergency management field. The panel will submit a report to the Minister of Emergency Preparedness in Fall 2022.
“Our government recognizes the importance of increasing our resilience to natural disasters, and being there for Canadians when emergencies strike. The long-standing Disaster Financial Assistance Agreements program is one of the key instruments to support provinces and territories in recovery efforts. This review will ensure that the program continues to be effective and sustainable, and provides the best support available to communities in their time of need.”
- The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
Since the launch of the DFAA program in 1970, it has contributed over $6.1 billion to provinces and territories, over 63 per cent of which was paid out in the last 10 years.
The Government of Canada has extended the DFAA program’s current terms and conditions until March 31, 2024, to allow for the completion of the DFAA review. This extension ensures that provinces and territories will continue to receive the federal financial support they need following a disaster, while the advisory panel completes its work.
In addition to the DFAA review, the Government of Canada is pursuing a number of measures with a view to improving the resiliency of Canadians in the face of the rising frequency and costs of disasters, including:
- Engaging with provincial, territorial and municipal governments, Indigenous Peoples, the emergency management community, and other key partners and stakeholders to develop Canada’s first ever National Adaptation Strategy. The Strategy represents a shared vision for climate resilience in Canada;
- Working with provinces and territories, Indigenous Peoples, municipalities, and the emergency management community to implement the Emergency Management Strategy to help Canada better prevent, mitigate, predict, prepare for, respond to, and recover from weather-related emergencies and disasters;
- Developing a National Risk Profile to enhance whole-of-society collaboration and governance to strengthen resilience and to improve understanding of disaster risk in all sectors of our communities;
- Working to stand up a flood risk portal informed by mapping to provide centralized access to information on flood risks as well as resources and suggestions on how best to protect their homes and communities;
- Completing the work of the Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation to assess viable flood insurance arrangements and measures to support potential relocation;
- Integrating climate resilience into the National Building Code and conducting research to factor climate resilience into the design of buildings; and
- Providing funding for infrastructure projects through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, to help communities better withstand the potential impacts of hazards.
Office of the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada
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