B.C. strengthens Disaster Financial Assistance program – Kelowna News

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Disaster money flooding in

After major parts of the British Columbia experienced mass flooding back in November 2021, the province is set to make significant changes to ensure people, communities, and businesses can access and receive increased benefits from BC’s Disaster Financial Assistance program.

Public safety and solicitor general, Mike Farnworth, believes the catastrophic flooding highlighted the limitations of the current Disaster Financial Assistance program, stating changes are more urgent than ever.

“These changes will help ensure people, First Nations and local governments impacted by severe flooding aren’t facing insurmountable costs, and will improve the program so we can respond faster next time and provide more support to those impacted,” said Farnworth.

Disaster Financial Assistance has been in place to help people recover from catastrophic emergencies like the one that happened last November. It provides compensation for essential uninsurable losses for eligible disasters.

The changes being made will make more farm operators, rental unit owners and small businesses eligible for Disaster Financial Assistance by making adjustments to the eligibility criteria.

From April 28 to July 27, the Province will re-open applications to the program to give businesses a fair opportunity to apply for assistance under the new requirements.

Changes to the program include:

  • Increasing provincial contributions to local infrastructure recovery
  • Up-front cash flow to communities from the Province
  • Expanding eligibility based on minimum income
  • Increasing maximum annual revenue for small businesses
  • Eligibility for corporation-owned properties

Emergency Management BC has received more than 2,200 applications from individuals, small businesses, farms, charitable organizations and local governments affected by last year’s flooding.

More than $5.3 million has been paid to applicants so far.

The November flood cost an estimated $450 million in insured damage.

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