Federal Government announces interim payments for costs associated with 2013 Saskatchewan floods

On Wednesday, Dec. 21, Bill Blair, Minister of Emergency Preparedness, announced an interim payment of $19,666,317 to Saskatchewan, through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) program, to assist with recovery costs associated with the 2013 floods in Saskatchewan.

In 2013, significant spring flooding in Saskatchewan caused major damage to homes, municipalities, First Nation communities, agricultural structures, small businesses and to both public and private infrastructure across much of the province.

“Providing relief after a weather disaster not only helps restore Saskatchewan communities and support our residents, it maintains hope and potential for a full recovery. The financial burden of extreme weather events is extraordinary and this interim payment from the Government of Canada will assist with those costs. The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to ensuring our citizens are not only safe, but also supported during disaster crises.” Christine Tell, Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety, Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency said in a release.

At this time, it is not known whether the Prince Albert area, which saw flooding around Highway 2 in the RM of Buckland, in the St. Louis and the Wapiti Valley Ski Resort areas will be eligible for payment in the system.

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.

“Rebuilding in the aftermath of significant flooding takes time and we will continue to work closely with the Government of Saskatchewan to support them throughout the recovery. As we work to adapt to the impacts of climate change, including natural disasters, we’re committed to building resiliency, ensuring that communities are able to build back stronger,” Blair said.

The original five-year limit for this event was October 2019; however, the province requested two extensions and the revised deadline to submit the final request for payment is now December 2023.

In the event of a large-scale disaster, the Government of Canada provides financial assistance through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (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.

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.

Provincial or territorial governments design, develop and deliver disaster financial assistance, deciding the amounts and types of assistance that will be provided to those that have experienced losses. The DFAA program places no restrictions on governments in this regard.

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.

Since 2018, the Government of Canada has invested $42.1 million in flood mitigation projects in Saskatchewan through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF). The DMAF provides support for structural and natural infrastructure projects to increase the resilience of communities that are impacted by natural disasters triggered by climate change.