Parliamentary Committee Notes: Status of the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements, Including its Mitigation Provisions

Date: May 9, 2022
Classification: Unclassified
Fully releasable (ATIP)? Yes
Branch / Agency: EMPB / PS

Proposed Response:

 Financial Implications


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. When response and recovery costs exceed what individual provinces or territories could reasonably be expected to bear on their own, the DFAA provides the Government of Canada with a fair and equitable means of assisting provincial and territorial governments.

Since the inception of the program in 1970, the Government of Canada has contributed $6 billion in post-disaster assistance to help provinces and territories with the costs of response and of returning public infrastructure and personal property to pre-disaster condition.

The provincial or territorial government 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 places no restrictions on provincial or territorial governments in this regard. However, the DFAA also set out what costs will be eligible for cost-sharing with the federal government.

A province or territory may request Government of Canada disaster financial assistance when eligible expenditures exceed $3.38 per capita, effective January 1, 2022 (based on the provincial or territorial population). Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to, rescue 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.

The DFAA also includes cost-share components for mitigative activities undertaken to reduce vulnerability to future emergencies:

The percentage of eligible costs reimbursed under the DFAA is determined by the cost-sharing formula clearly outlined in the arrangements and is up to 90% of eligible expenditures.

The Government of Canada may provide advance, interim and/or final payments to provincial and territorial governments as the reconstruction of major infrastructure proceeds and funds are expended under the provincial/territorial disaster assistance program. All provincial or territorial requests for advance and interim payments are subject to risk assessments and final payments are subject to federal audit to ensure that cost sharing is provided for eligible expenditures according to the DFAA guidelines.

A review of the program is being undertaken and aims to ensure that the program remains effective for the coming years.


Prepared by: Douglas May, Senior Director, Emergency Management Programs, 613-697-0526
Approved by: Trevor Bhupsingh, Assistant Deputy Minister, Emergency Management and Programs Branch, 613-993-4325

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