Minister Blair welcomes final report from expert advisory panel on Canada’s approach to disaster recovery funding
April 17, 2023
Communities across Canada are experiencing devastating natural disasters like floods, wildfires, and storms in greater numbers than ever before. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadians whose lives are impacted when disasters strike, help communities recover, and, ultimately, increase our resiliency.
Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, President of the King’s Privy Council and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, announced the release of Building Forward Together: Toward a more resilient Canada, a report from an independent expert advisory panel tasked with reviewing the effectiveness and long-term viability of the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) program.
The report outlines the panel’s findings and recommendations on how to modernize the DFAA program to not only support disaster recovery, but also to help build more resilient communities in a changing risk environment. The panel also provided special considerations on how best to align the program with broader disaster mitigation and climate adaptation work.
The Government of Canada will use the recommendations to inform the review of the federal approach to disaster financial assistance to ensure it remains a sustainable source of support for provinces and territories, while taking steps to help communities mitigate the impact of future natural disasters.
“The report’s findings and recommendations provide valuable insights and information to adapt disaster recovery funding in Canada so we can continue to support those in need and make communities more resilient to disasters moving forward. Thank you to all of the panel members for their diligent work.”
- The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
In his most recent mandate letter, Minister Blair was tasked with undertaking a comprehensive review of the DFAA program by engaging experts to bring forward program recommendations and amendments.
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. In recent years, the increased frequency and severity of natural disasters such as flooding and other climate change-related events has led to rising costs and impacts for Canadians and their communities.
As of March 2023, the DFAA program has contributed over $7.9 billion to provinces and territories since its inception in 1970, 73 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 program undergoes a review.
Budget 2023 proposes to provide $48.1 million over five years, starting in 2023-2024, to identify high-risk flood areas and implement a modernized DFAA program which would incentivize mitigation efforts.
The eight-member advisory panel is composed of experts from the public sector, academia, non-profit organizations, Indigenous communities, and the private sector. The panel consulted provinces and territories, Indigenous partners, and other key stakeholders in the emergency management field to ensure the recommendations put forward reflect different experiences and realities faced across the country.
In addition to investing in a modernized DFAA program, 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:
- As proposed in Budget 2023:
- Investing an additional $15.3 million to create publicly accessible online portal where Canadians can access information on their exposure to flooding as well as resources and suggestions on how best to protect their homes and communities;
- Investing $31.7 million to create a low-cost flood insurance program aimed at protecting households at high risk of flooding and without access to adequate insure. In parallel the Government of Canada will also engage with industry on solutions to earthquake insurance and other evolving climate-related insurance market challenges;
- Investing $63.8 million over three years for the Flood Hazard Mapping and Identification Program by completing flood hazard mapping of areas at higher risk of flooding in partnership with provinces and territories;
- Working collaboratively with partners to implement the shared priorities laid out in the country’s first National Adaptation Strategy, to help Canada be more resilient and prepare for the impacts of climate change. Strengthening national resilience to disasters is one of the five focus areas of the Strategy;
- 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 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;
- 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.
- As proposed in Budget 2023:
- Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA)
- Building Forward Together: Toward a more resilient Canada
- Minister Blair appoints Advisory Panel to review post-disaster financial assistance program
- DFAA Review: Advisory Panel Biographies
- National Risk Profile
- Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy: Building Resilient Communities and a Strong Economy
- Emergency Management Strategy for Canada: Toward a Resilient 2030
- Budget 2023: A Made-in-Canada Plan
Office of the President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada
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