Disaster Financial Assistance

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is responsible for taking action during a local emergency like a flood?

Under the Civil Emergency Measures Act, Community Governments are responsible for developing and implementing emergency plans and procedures, which offer a reasonable level of protection to the general public and minimize property damage and loss during emergencies.

The authority of Community Governments includes:

  • Appointing a committee to advise on the development of emergency plans;
  • Establishing and maintaining a community emergency measures agency;
  • Appointing a coordinator and establishing the duties of the coordinator, including the preparation and coordination of emergency plans;
  • Preparing and approving emergency plans and programs;
  • Declaring a state of local emergency; and
  • Entering into agreements and making payments to organizations for the provision of emergency services.

What is the Government of the Northwest Territories’ role in local emergencies?

  • Training and direct support for community councils and staff in emergency planning;
  • Coordinating territorial emergency planning and response activities by all Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) departments and partner agencies on emergencies where a community’s emergency response capacity has been exceeded or where more than one community has been affected;
  • Administering the Disaster Assistance Policy (DAP) which provides disaster financial assistance to Community Governments, small businesses, or residents of the NWT who suffer damage as a result of a disaster; and
  • Back-up and technical support as requested by community leaders or staff.

What is the Disaster Assistance Policy?

  • The DAP is a GNWT policy approved by and issued under the authority of the Executive Council of the GNWT.
  • The DAP is not intended to be a substitute for individuals and businesses taking necessary precautions, including purchasing insurance where it is available. Rather, it is intended to provide financial assistance (reimbursement) to help people recover from the effects of a disaster.
  • The DAP is similar to disaster assistance programs established in other jurisdictions in Canada. Provincial/Territorial programs are generally based on the federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) which provides financial assistance to provinces and territories to help them cover costs relating to a disaster.
  • The DAP may provide financial support to assist individuals, small businesses and community governments in recovering from a disaster and restoring their property to its pre-disaster condition.
  • Eligible costs include real property used as a principal residence and essential possessions, property and material associated with a small business, essential livelihood items (i.e. hunting and trapping equipment), the reconstruction of essential community services, and emergency operations costs incurred in responding to the emergency.

What is considered a disaster under the DAP?

The DAP may be applied if:

  • The event was an emergency;
  • Damage was so widespread that a significant number of people or properties were affected;
  • The health, safety, and welfare of the affected residents were at risk;
  • The Community Government conducted appropriate emergency operations and advised the Deputy Minister; and
  • The community, small businesses and community residents made a serious effort to protect property and minimize risk.

What is eligible for reimbursement under the DAP?

Eligible costs may include those related to:

  • Real property being used as a principal residence and its ancillary structures, and essential possessions contained therein;
  • Property being used as a business premise and stock in trade;
  • Items essential to hunting and trapping, providing the claimant relies on hunting and trapping for a significant part of his or her income;
  • The reconstruction of essential community services and the restoration of damaged public property to its pre-disaster condition; or
  • Community governments may also request assistance under the DAP to recover extraordinary costs incurred in conducting emergency operations.

What is excluded from reimbursement under the DAP?

  • Items, damaged or lost, which could have been covered by insurance which was readily available at reasonable cost;
  • Costs that are recoverable through legal action;
  • Costs that are eligible for financial assistance from another program;
  • An ordinary or normal risk of business or a trade, including loss of income and interest charges;
  • A normal expenditure of a business, government or service including maintenance costs;
  • Costs associated with restoring non-essential items;
  • Costs which could have been reduced or prevented by available means prior to a disaster; or
  • Costs incurred by a business not deemed to be a small businesses under the DAP.

Why does the GNWT only reimburse 80 percent of damages or losses for residents and small businesses?

The DAP is not a replacement for insurance or personal responsibility and therefore does not provide full compensation for damage or loss. This approach is consistent with all jurisdictions in Canada.

Who decides which claims will be reimbursed?

A Disaster Assistance Committee established under the authority of the Minister of MACA is responsible for making recommendations for payment of claims. The Minister of MACA approves the amounts of disaster assistance to be paid.

How long does it take to receive reimbursement from my claim?

  • The amount of time required to confirm eligibility is influenced by the complexity of the claim and is not set by any specific timeline.
  • The amount of time required for final reimbursement of all approved items on a claim depends on how quickly proof of payment for goods or services is received by the Disaster Assistance Committee after the repairs are complete.

When do disaster financial assistance applications become available after a disaster?

Typically, it takes three to four weeks in total to have the initial scope of damages assessed and the DAP applied. Once the DAP is applied, applications will be available at the Disaster Assistance Registration Office in your community, the Community Government office, MACA’s Regional Office, or on MACA’s website.

Are people who live in designated flood zones eligible for assistance?

Applicants may receive assistance for the reconstruction of private property in a disaster-prone area such as a flood zone as long as those structures are built in accordance with the National Building Code and all applicable by-laws and Band Council resolutions in force at the time of construction. After an event, residents are expected to restore their property in such a way so as to reasonably protect it against future damage (e.g. raising the structure above the designated flood design level).

Eligibility on subsequent applications will be based on an assessment of what measures have been taken to protect private property against future disasters.

What is homeowner’s insurance?

Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance must be obtained from a private insurer and they pay you if your personal property is damaged or stolen. Your insurer may also pay your temporary living expenses if an emergency forces you to leave your home.

If I rent, doesn’t my landlord’s insurance protect my belongings?

No. Your landlord’s insurance does not protect your personal property, it only protects the building.

Is flood insurance available in the NWT?

  • Flood insurance is not available to private residents anywhere in Canada. As a result, losses for residents/tenants may be eligible for consideration under the DAP.
  • Flood insurance is available to small businesses which should carry it to help protect their business property unless it can be demonstrated that this type of insurance is not affordable.