Disaster Financial Assistance

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions for the 2021 NWT Flood Season, click here.

Who is responsible for taking action during a local emergency?

Under the 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 (eg. floods).

The authority of Community Governments includes:

  • Establishing and maintaining a local emergency management organization;

  • 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 when appropriate; 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 for emergencies where a community’s emergency response capacity has been exceeded.

  • 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 (DAP)?

  • The Disaster Assistance Policy (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 causing widespread damage.
  • 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, 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.


How do I apply for Disaster Assistance?

Community Governments can apply for Disaster Financial Assistance using this form: Community Government Disaster Financial Assistance Application Form

Homeowners, Residential tenants, and Small Business can apply for Disaster Financial Assistance using this form: Homeowner, Residential, Small Business Owner Disaster Financial Assistance Application Form

For more information on applying for Disaster Financial Assistance contact:

Dehcho Region 
(867) 695-7220 

Inuvik Region 
(867) 777-7121

North Slave Region 
(867) 767-9167

Sahtu Region 
(867) 587-7100

South Slave Region 
(867) 872-6525 

What is eligible for reimbursement under the DAP?

Eligible costs may include those related to:

Building repairs

  • 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;
  • The reconstruction of essential community services and the restoration of damaged public property to its pre-disaster condition; or


  • The GNWT finalized a standardized item list (SIL).  The SIL is a list of items, excluding improved real property, considered eligible for assistance after a disaster, as well as a maximum claim amount for each item. 
  • The SIL (part 3, limitations column) will show the number of items that can be included in DAP claims (e.g. one dresser per bedroom). As for the amount to claim, residents can claim the value shown in the SIL (part 3, value column) (e.g. $500 for a dresser) or submit receipts for reimbursement of 80% of the receipt value (e.g. 80% of a $700 receipt for a dresser, $560).
  • Uninsured items essential to the operation of small business or community government should be included in claims. This means items that would prevent s small business or community government from running a typical day-to-day operation.

Other costs

  • Community governments may also request assistance under the DAP to recover extraordinary costs incurred in conducting emergency operations.
  • Items essential to hunting and trapping, providing the claimant relies on hunting and trapping for a significant part of his or her income.

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 business under the DAP.


Does the GNWT reimburse the full claim amounts?

  • The DAP is not an insurance or compensation program, so full compensation for damage or loss is not provided. This approach is consistent with all jurisdictions in Canada.
  • The GNWT is paying for and coordinating repairs to private, primary homes to restore them to pre-disaster condition.
  • The GNWT is also replacing primary residences damaged beyond repair with basic manufactured homes fit for the size of the household.
  • The GNWT has waived the limits when it comes to repairs it is conducting and replacements it is purchasing. For example, if damage to a home is assessed at $120,000, the GNWT will pay the full repair costs if it is doing the repairs.
  • If you decided to complete repairs on your own, the GNWT maximum is 80% of the full repair costs, not covered by insurance, up to a maximum of $100,000.

Small businesses and community governments - building and content

  • The GNWT will cover 80% of the total claim for lost and damaged content, not covered by any other kind of insurance, up to a maximum of $100,000 per applicant.
  • Eligible building costs are included in the Assessment Report prepared for each business. 
  • Applicants are encouraged to provide as much information as possible.

Homes - buildings

  • Repair costs for residents, where the GNWT is hiring the contractor:
    • The GNWT is covering 100% of repair costs, where the GNWT is hiring the contractor.
    • Residents benefitting from this program will have no repairs costs to include on their DAP Claim because the GNWT is directly paying contractors for the repair costs.
    • In addition to paying 100% of repairs costs, the GNWT will cover 80% of the total claim for lost and damaged content of your home, not covered by any other kind of insurance, up to a maximum of $100,000.
  • If you decided to complete repairs on your own:
    • The GNWT will reimburse 80% of your total eligible claim (full repair costs to your home combined with lost and damaged content of your home), not covered by insurance, up to a maximum of $100,000.
    • Residents completing their own repairs should include repairs costs and lost and damaged content to their home in their DAP Claim.
  • The standardized items list (SIL) describes items eligible for reimbursement.
  • amounts to $80,000, you are eligible for a $64,000 reimbursement for home contents.
  • amounts to $125,000 or more, you are eligible for a $100,000 reimbursement for home contents.

Homes - contents

  • The GNWT will cover 80% of the total claim for lost and damaged content of your home, not covered by any other kind of insurance, up to a maximum of $100,000. For example, if a claim for the content of a home:

Who decides which claim 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?

  • Most claims will be reviewed and, if eligible, processed within three to four weeks if possible.
  • This may take longer if information is missing, or if there are any follow-up questions or additional documentation required.
  • People can make claims for assistance and, if approved, will receive their money. The GNWT will not wait for any funding from Canada to do this.

When can disaster assistance applications be submitted 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 via MACA’s Regional Office.

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. Renters should purchase Tenant Insurance in order to protect belongings

Is flood insurance available in the NWT?

Flood insurance may be available to private residents in the NWT.  It is recommended you check with your insurance provider to see if this is an option.  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.


Where can I get additional information about Disaster Financial Assistance?

Contact one of the following Municipal and Community Affairs’ Regional Offices:

Dehcho Region 
(867) 695-7220 

Inuvik Region 
(867) 777-7121

North Slave Region 
(867) 767-9167

Sahtu Region 
(867) 587-7100

South Slave Region 
(867) 872-6525    

or visit https://www.maca.gov.nt.ca/en/regional-offices.