Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA)

In the event of a large-scale natural disaster, the Government of Canada provides financial assistance to provincial and territorial governments through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA), administered by Public Safety Canada (PS).

New Guidelines for the DFAA came into effect on January 1, 2008. They will apply to natural disasters which occur on or after that date. The previous Guidelines still apply for events which occurred on or prior to December 31, 2007, and for which PS is currently working with provinces and territories on finalizing payments.


In the event of a large-scale natural disaster, the Government of Canada provides financial assistance to provincial and territorial governments through the DFAA, administered by PS. When response and recovery costs exceed what individual provinces or territories could reasonably be expected to bear on their own, the DFAA provide the Government of Canada with a fair and equitable means of assisting provincial and territorial governments.

Through the DFAA, assistance is paid to the province or territory – not directly to affected individuals, small businesses or communities. A request for reimbursement under the DFAA is processed immediately following receipt of the required documentation of provincial/territorial expenditures and a review by federal auditors.

Since the inception of the program in 1970, the Government of Canada has paid out more than $5 billion in post-disaster assistance to help provinces and territories with the costs of response and of returning infrastructure and personal property to pre-disaster condition.

Examples of recent payments include those for the 2019 Tropical Storm Dorian in New Brunswick, the 2017 Spring Flood in Manitoba, and the 2018 Wildfires in British Columbia.

Roles and Responsibilities

The 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 place no restrictions on provincial or territorial governments in this regard - they are free to put in place the disaster financial assistance appropriate to the particular disaster and the circumstances, and the DFAA set out what costs will be eligible for cost-sharing with the federal government.

PS works closely with the province or territory to review provincial/territorial requests for reimbursement of eligible response and recovery costs.


A province or territory may request Government of Canada disaster financial assistance when eligible expenditures exceed an established initial threshold (based on provincial or territorial population). For more information, please consult Appendix A.

Eligible expenses 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. For further information on eligible expenses, please consult Appendix B.

The Government of Canada may provide advance and interim payments to provincial and territorial governments as funds are expended under the provincial/territorial disaster assistance program. All provincial or territorial requests for DFAA cost-sharing are subject to federal audit to ensure that cost-sharing is provided according to the DFAA Guidelines.

Appendix A

Cost-Sharing Formula effective January 1, 2021

Effective January 1, 2021 , the initial threshold for all new events is defined as $3.27 per capita of the provincial population (as estimated by Statistics Canada to exist on July 1st in the calendar year of the disaster). Once the threshold is exceeded, the federal share of eligible expenses is determined by the formula in Table 8.

Table 8 - Cost-sharing formula for January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021
Eligible provincial expenses
(per capita of population)
Government of Canada share
First $3.27 0
Next $6.56 50
Next $6.56 75
Remainder 90

The formulas will be indexed to inflation annually based on the consumer price index published by Statistics Canada. For consistency purposes, national-level data will be used to calculate inflation.

The revised formula, adjusted for inflation, will take effect on January 1 of every subsequent year, starting in 2016. The DFAA Guidelines will be updated annually during the month of February to reflect the revised formula.

Please refer to Interpretation Bulletin 5 for more information regarding the changes to the cost-sharing formula.

Provincial and Territorial Thresholds effective January 1, 2021
Province/Territory Q4 2020* Threshold for DFAA
Newfoundland and Labrador 520,998


Prince Edward Island 159,713 $522,262
Nova Scotia 979,115 $3,201,706
New Brunswick 781,315 $2,554,900
Quebec 8,575,779 $28,042,797
Ontario 14,733,119 $48,177,299
Manitoba 1,379,584 $4,511,240
Saskatchewan 1,177,884 $3,851,681
Alberta 4,428,112 $14,479,926
British Columbia 5,145,851 $16,826,933
Yukon 42,176 $137,916
Northwest Territories



39, 285


*Population estimates will be revised quarterly as new data is made available by Statistics Canada.

Example: For a disaster in a province with a population of 1 million where the total eligible expenses for responding to and recovering from a disaster are $20 million, the table below shows how eligible expenditures would be cost-shared through the DFAA.

Example for a disaster in a province with a population of 1 million
Eligible Expenses Provincial or Territorial Government Government of Canada
First $3.27 per capita
(100% provincial/territorial)
$3,270,000 Nil
Next $6.56 per capita (50%) $3,280,000 $3,280,000
Next $6.56 per capita (75%) $1,640,000


Remainder (90%) $361,000 $3,249,000
TOTAL $8,551,000 $11,449,000

Appendix B

Examples of provincial/territorial expenses that may be eligible for cost-sharing under the DFAA:

Examples of expenses that would NOT be eligible for cost-sharing:

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