Government of Canada provides disaster recovery funding to British Columbia for spring floods

News release

April 19, 2023

Ottawa, Ontario        

In 2017 and 2018, communities across southern British Columbia experienced widespread spring flooding that caused significant damage to homes, businesses, and private and public infrastructure.

Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, announced two interim payments totalling $152,696,125 to British Columbia through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) program, to assist with recovery costs associated with the 2017 and 2018 spring floods.

In the event of a large-scale natural disaster, the Government of Canada provides financial assistance through the DFAA program to provinces and territories, at their request, for eligible disaster response and recovery expenses that exceed what they could be reasonably expected to bear on their own. Eligible expenses under the DFAA include, but are not limited to, evacuation operations, restoring public works and infrastructure to their pre-disaster condition, as well as replacing or repairing basic, essential personal property of individuals, small businesses, and farmsteads.

Quotes

“As the effects of climate change increase the frequency of natural disasters like flooding, we are committed to supporting Canadians, and keeping them safe. This payment will support the province of British Columbia with their rebuilding efforts, as we work together to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Prioritizing our resiliency towards recurring natural disasters will help strengthen our adaptability and our ability to better recover.”

- The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness

“The significant flooding in the Cariboo and Okanagan regions in 2017 and 2018 impacted thousands of people by causing widespread damage to homes and public infrastructure. In response, our Province acted swiftly to support people in need and since then we’ve continued to enhance our resilience to the impacts of climate change. We’re grateful to the federal government for this funding, which helps alleviate the extraordinary costs to respond to and recover from these large-scale emergency events.”

- The Honourable Bowinn Ma, British Columbia’s Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness

Quick facts

  • In 2017, major spring flooding caused widespread localized flooding in several southern B.C. districts. During that period, many roads and bridges were washed out leaving entire communities inaccessible and Lake Okanagan surpassed historic flood levels. Over 1,200 residents were affected and the flooding resulted in two fatalities. For this event, the Government of Canada is providing an interim payment of $46,137,882.

  • In 2018, major spring flooding caused widespread localized flooding in several southern B.C. districts. The City of Grand Forks was the hardest hit where nearly 500 homes were flooded and heavily damaged. Approximately 6,000 people were evacuated from over 30 communities. For this event, the Government of Canada is providing an interim payment of $106,558,243.

  • Provincial or territorial governments design, develop and deliver disaster financial assistance, deciding the amounts and types of assistance that will be provided to those who have experienced losses.

  • Provinces and territories provide financial support to impacted communities based on the criteria of their own provincial disaster assistance program’s recovery plans and policies.

  • Under the DFAA, provinces and territories have six months following the end of a disaster event to request financial assistance from the federal government. Once an event has been designated under the DFAA, provinces and territories have up to five years to submit their final claim. 

  • In 2022, Minister Blair appointed an external advisory panel to review the DFAA program to ensure there is an updated, comprehensive system available to provinces and territories for disaster recovery and to support the safety and well-being of Canadians.

  • On April 17, 2023, the Government of Canada published the advisory panel’s final report Building Forward Together: Toward a more resilient Canada, which provides recommendations on how to improve the effectiveness and long-term viability of the DFAA. The recommendations will help to inform Canada’s renewed approach to disaster financial assistance to ensure it remains a sustainable source of support for provinces and territories.

  • As outlined in Budget 2023, the Government of Canada is investing $48.1 million over five years, starting in 2023-24 to identify high-risk flood areas and implement a modernized DFAA program which would incentivize mitigation efforts.

  • The Disaster Mitigation Adaptation Fund (DMAF) is a $3.86 billion competitive program to support public infrastructure projects that mitigate current and future climate-related risks and disasters. Since 2018, the Government of Canada has invested nearly $249 million in mitigation projects in British Columbia through DMAF to increase the resilience of its communities. In January 2023, DMAF launched its new round of intake. More than $1 billion in federal funding is currently available. 

Associated links

Contacts

Joanna Kanga
Press Secretary
Office of the President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
Joanna.Kanga@kpc-cpr.gc.ca

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada
613-991-0657
psmediarelations@ps-sp.gc.ca

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