B.C. extends deadline for public input on disaster financial assistance
November 30, 2023
By B.C. Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness
People who want to help shape and improve how the province provides financial support following a disaster now have until the end of January 2024.
The Disaster Financial Assistance program helps people, small businesses, charitable organizations and communities cover disaster-related losses that are not readily insurable. This may include the replacement of personal items, building repairs and debris removal.
A new regulation is being developed to revamp the Disaster Financial Assistance program through extended public engagement allowing people, communities and small businesses to share their experiences and provide written feedback to help inform new policies. The engagement has been extended one month until Jan. 31, 2024.
The new regulation will replace the existing Compensation and Disaster Financial Assistance Regulation. The regulation will be made under the new Emergency and Disaster Management Act, which became B.C. law on Nov. 8, 2023.
In 2023, the province introduced an online portal to apply for Disaster Financial Assistance. This shift from paper-based applications allows more people to receive the support they need in a timely and efficient manner. In 2022, the province made a series of regulatory improvements so that more people could access the support they needed following the November 2021 atmospheric river events, including increasing the maximum payment to $400,000 from $300,000.
The new regulation will build on these improvements so that people, small businesses and communities are better supported after a disaster.
The new Emergency and Disaster Management Act incorporates lessons learned from recent emergencies and reflects modern risks and realities, including climate change. The legislation adheres to the United Nations’ best practices for disaster-risk reduction and incorporates all four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
The act is an important step in aligning B.C.’s approach with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The province is committed to continuing work with First Nations to progress efforts to support alignment under the declaration.
The province is also seeking feedback on new regulations to supplement and complete provisions under the Emergency and Disaster Management Act for local authorities, which has also been extended until Jan. 31, 2024.
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