Flood recovery

Frequently Asked Questions

Contents

What is the Disaster Assistance Policy?

The GNWT Disaster Assistance Policy (DAP) is a government-funded assistance program that may be implemented after a widespread disaster to ensure essential community functioning and cover the essential basic needs of residents and businesses. Disaster assistance is limited to essential items, the loss of which was neither preventable nor insurable. It is not an insurance program to recover all losses, and it provides assistance to restore to pre-disaster condition only.

Who is responsible for paying for flood recovery?

Residents, small businesses, including non-profit organizations, and local authorities are expected to use their insurance first to cover the loss or damage of anything that is insurable.  The Disaster Assistance Policy (DAP) will help with eligible costs that are not covered by any other funding source to ensure that basic needs are met.  The DAP is not an insurance program to recover all losses; it is limited to essential items, the loss of which is neither preventable or insurable. 

Who is eligible for disaster financial assistance?

Applicants can apply for disaster financial assistance if the Disaster Assistance Policy has been implemented, insurance coverage wasn’t available or the costs exceed what insurance covers. 

Eligibility is in three areas, as follows:

  • Residents in the affected area with costs resulting from damages caused by the disaster valued at more than $1,000.  
  • Small businesses in the affected area:
    • Damages caused by the disaster must be valued at more than $5,000
    • Business must be owner-operated
    • Annual revenue between $10,000 and $2 million
    • No more than the equivalent of 20 full time employees.
  • Non-profit organizations in the affected area are also eligible in the small business category if:
    • Damages caused by the disaster must be valued at more than $5,000.
    • Must deliver an essential service (eg: food, shelter, addictions programming, or support for families experiencing family violence)
    • Registered and in good standing with the requirements of the Societies Act.
  • Local authorities (community governments) in the affected area :
    • Damages caused by the disaster must be valued at more than five per cent of the operations and maintenance budget averaged over three years, as per audited financial statements. 

Applicants will need to provide documentation to show eligibility in all three categories. 

How will I know if the Disaster Assistance Policy has been implemented?

The Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) will announce when the Disaster Assistance Policy has been implemented.  This announcement will be communicated through regular print, radio, and social media channels.  You can also reach out to your local authority to determine if the Policy has been implemented. 

The Disaster Assistance Policy has been applied to the 2022 spring flood damage experienced in Hay River and on the K’atlodeeche First Nation reserve.

Can people get disaster assistance if they have insurance?

Yes. Disaster Financial Assistance can pay for expenses not covered by your insurance. However, it is a good idea to talk to an insurance provider to discuss coverage and explore options to reduce financial stress after a disaster.  If you do not have insurance, the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Consumer Information line can also help you understand the options that are available: 1-844-227-5422.

When can people apply for Disaster Financial Assistance?

Applicants can start the process after the GNWT has announced that it is applying the Disaster Assistance Policy in an area. Registration forms are provided to guide applicants through the eligibility and requirements to apply for disaster assistance.  It is important to register as soon as possible so the GNWT can begin facilitating the process, especially if the disaster has affected an entire community or many people.  

GNWT Pathfinders can assist residents with the disaster DAP application process. To reach out to a Pathfinder, contact:

.

What is the difference between a preliminary damage assessment and detailed damage assessment?

A preliminary damage assessment is an estimate of damages for the whole disaster area. Cost estimates in the preliminary assessment reflect current market conditions and costs of living in the north. This is a scan to help identify properties and infrastructure that require a detailed damage assessment.  Once this is done people should register for disaster assistance.

Once you have registered your claim and the GNWT has confirmed your eligibility, the GNWT will hire a professional to go to your home, small business, or non-profit organization to do a detailed assessment. Detailed damage assessments are full inventories of what can be used to submit claims. Once this is done people can apply for disaster assistance.

Do I need to wait for a detailed damage assessment before I start my repairs? 

No. People don’t need to wait for a detailed damage assessment to make repairs. But, before starting any repair and cleanup, applicants should first contact their insurance company to find out what is covered by private insurance and how much of the costs are covered. People should then list all damaged or destroyed items and keep a record of photos, receipts, and warranties. Also keep all receipts related to clean up and living expenses if you’ve been displaced.

Once these details are documented, people can go ahead and start purchasing supplies and materials or hiring contractors. The person doing the detailed damage assessment will need to see the documentation before anything was repaired in order to ensure the assessment outlines all damages accurately. The detailed damage assessment outlines what can be claimed in a disaster assistance application.

Who do people contact to get the detailed damage assessments done? 

For residents, small businesses, and non-profit organizations:

  • The GNWT facilitates the damage assessment at no cost to applicants. This assessment is done as soon as possible after it is safe to return to the community. 

For local authorities:

  • Local authorities are responsible for assessing the damage and loss to their public infrastructure and equipment. The cost of assessing their loss and damage is reimbursable under Disaster Financial Assistance.

GNWT Pathfinders can assist residents with the DAP application process. Pathfinders can be contacted at in person at the MACA office in the Hay River courthouse or by email or phone at  flood@gov.nt.ca  or (867) 767-9161 ext. 21031.

When will the detailed damage assessment reports be available?

Assessment reports will be available approximately 3 weeks after the property has been visited by an appraiser. Please note that, depending on the damage to the structure, it may take longer than 3 weeks. 

How do people start making repairs before getting assistance if they can’t afford it?

Applicants may need advance payments to help respond to urgent needs and can get a one-time advance payment of Disaster Financial Assistance. This advance payment will be deducted from the final disaster assistance claim.

Residents:

  • Advance payment equal to 50 percent of the value of damages in a detailed damage assessment. Under extraordinary circumstances, determined on a case-by-case basis, an increased amount can be provided.

Small businesses and non-profit organizations:

  • Advance payment equal to 50 percent of the value of damages in a detailed damage assessment. Under extraordinary circumstances, determined on a case-by-case basis, an increased amount can be provided.

Local authorities

  • Advance payment equal to 50 percent of the value of damage in a preliminary assessment, up to a maximum of 5 percent of the Operations and Maintenance Budget averaged over three years..

How do I apply for advance payment?

After you receive your  detailed damage assessment of damage, you can request an advance payment. Fill the Advance Payment form to apply.

GNWT Pathfinders can assist residents with the advance payment application process. To reach out to a Pathfinder, contact:

What is the maximum amount of financial assistance that can be received?

Residents, small businesses, and non-profit organizations

  • For those in Hay River who have been impacted by the 2022 flood event with eligible claims under $240,000, ninety (90) percent of eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $240,000, that is not paid by insurance or any other funding program. Residents must contribute at least $1,000 to the restoration costs unless they qualify as a low-income household. Small businesses and non-profit organizations must contribute at least $5,000.

Local authorities

  • There is no maximum total amount for local authorities. They can receive up to 90 percent of eligible expenses and are expected to contribute an amount towards recovery costs that is equal to five percent of their operations and maintenance budget averaged over three years.
  • For those in Hay River who have been impacted by the 2022 flood event with eligible claims over $240,000, an exception has been made to the DAP, so that the first $240,000 of assistance will be provided at 100% (vs. 90%), and the remainder of assistance will be provided at 50%. 

Who qualifies as a low-income household?

Low-income households are those with an annual income equal to or lower than the most recent Northern Market Basket Measure Thresholds by Family Size from the NWT Bureau of Statistics.  If you are unsure if you fit in this category, please contact your Pathfinder. 

How is disaster assistance different for those living on a First Nation Reserve?

The Government of Canada helps communities on reserve access emergency assistance through its Emergency Management Assistance Program. The GNWT will coordinate flood recovery for First Nation Reserves in the NWT with the Federal Government through Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and Indigenous Services Canada.

The process for residents, businesses and First Nation governments on reserve to access disaster financial assistance will be the same, but the funding provided may differ.

What is reimbursed by Disaster Financial Assistance?

Residents, small businesses, and non-profit organizations:

  • Residents can be reimbursed for living expenses if they can’t return home or stay in an evacuation center.
  • Preventative actions including:
    • Cleanup and disinfection that if not done would result in more damage
    • Urgent work that prevents further damage
  • Essential household items (e.g., furniture), small business (including inventory), or non-profit organization
  • Repairs or replacement of your home, small business, or non-profit organization
  • Mitigation enhancements to prevent damage for future disasters

Local authorities:

  • Emergency response operations
  • Assessment of damage and loss,
  • Use of personnel and equipment owned by the local authority,
  • Preventative actions including:
    • Cleanup and disinfection that if not done would result in more damage
    • Urgent work that prevents further damage
  • Repair or replacement of public infrastructure and equipment
  • Road repairs
  • Mitigation enhancements to prevent damage for future disasters

See the Handbooks for Residents, Small Businesses and non-profit organizations, and Local authorities in MACA Flood Recovery Resources for more guidance on eligible expenses.

What is not reimbursed by Disaster Financial Assistance?

Disaster assistance is government-funded and only includes essentials. Therefore, the following are not reimbursed by the program:

  • Insurance deductibles
  • Non-essential items like jewelry, cosmetics, art and decorative objects, Christmas decorations, recreational items, vehicles, swimming pools, sports equipment like hockey gear
  • Damage and deterioration that existed before the disaster happened
  • Damage to property outside the area where the Disaster Assistance Policy is being applied
  • Damage that could have been prevented or insured at a reasonable cost
  • Damage or loss due to a normal risk of operation
  • Repairs to property that are above its basic and functional level like the cost for luxury finishes
  • Repairs to or replacement of a home that is not your primary residence like a cabin or secondary home
  • Residents only - Repairs or replacement of vehicles, snowmobiles, boat motor, argos, side-by-side or a quad
  • Any expenses covered by insurance, other programs, charity donations or recoverable through legal action
  • Loss of income while you were dealing with a disaster
  • Interest on loans
  • Regular salary of public sector employees (local authorities only)
  • Landscaping that is decorative and not essential

Will the GNWT be organizing the repairs to homes and businesses in Hay River?

  • The GNWT will not be coordinating repairs to damaged property for residents, small businesses and non-profit organizations in Hay River.
  • Coordinating repairs to homes and businesses is the responsibility of the property owner.  
  • Property owners should take steps to start repairs to their homes as soon as they are able to and/or once they have their detailed damage assessments.  They should keep copies of all receipts, contracts and other documentation to provide with their claim for disaster financial assistance reimbursement.
  • The GNWT is working with KFN leadership and the federal government to confirm the approach for repairs to homes and businesses on the KFN reserve.

Will the GNWT be replacing homes in Hay River that are damaged beyond repair?

  • No. Property owners are responsible to make the decision to repair or replace their homes. Disaster assistance is available for eligible costs.
  • Property owners should take steps to start replacement of their homes as soon as they are able to and/or once have their detailed damage assessments.  They should keep copies of all receipts, contracts and other documentation to provide with their claim for disaster financial assistance reimbursement.

Is there any financial assistance available for mitigation against future floods?

  • Mitigation ranges from elevating a home, to moving furnaces out of basements, to installing water-resistant building materials. 
  • For those impacted by the 2022 flood in Hay River, the GNWT is providing a maximum of $75,000 for residents and small businesses with eligible claims, to undertake mitigation.
  • Some mitigation measures such as elevating a home require specialized technical assistance to see if it is even an option.  The GNWT will also pay for structural engineering assistance, to work with owners to ensure that mitigation measures are done consistent with engineering standards and with updated flood maps.

Is there any assistance available for environmental damages such as fuel spills?

  • The GNWT has done preliminary spill assessments in the Town of Hay River and the KFN reserve and is aware of approximately 50 sites where there is contamination. 
  • The GNWT will be doing more detailed environmental work and will be paying for remediation to clean up these sites.

Will I be reimbursed for my costs for evacuation?

  • Claims for evacuation costs can be considered in some circumstances. Please review the  Handbook for Residents for more information and contact a Pathfinder to discuss this matter and your circumstances prior to making a claim.

How do I apply for Disaster Financial Assistance?

After the DAP has been announced and a preliminary damage assessment has been completed:

  1. Fill a Registration Form and provide supporting documents listed in the form. The GNWT will let you know in writing if you are eligible to receive Disaster Financial Assistance.
  2. If you are eligible, the GNWT will hire and pay a professional to go to your home, small business, or non-profit organization to complete a detailed damage assessment. Local authorities are responsible for assessing the damage and loss to their public infrastructure and equipment.
  3. Once you have done all repair and restoration work, complete and submit a Disaster Financial Assistance Claim Form to be reimbursed for your expenses and close out your file. Use the detailed damage assessment for this step.
  4. The GNWT will review your claim and provide you with the amount of your Disaster Financial Assistance in accordance with the Disaster Assistance Funding Policy. 

GNWT Pathfinders can assist residents with the disaster DAP application process. To reach out to a Pathfinder, contact:

How long will it take to receive my payment for Disaster Financial Assistance?

Every effort will be made to review and approve claims within 30 days, but this is not guaranteed. It may take longer if your claim is missing information or supporting documents, or if there are any follow-up questions. Your claim will be paid three to five business days after it is approved.

What if applicants disagree with a claim amount?

Applicants can appeal by writing to the Deputy Minister of MACA within 30 days of the decision on a claim:

Deputy Minister

Municipal and Community Affairs

600, 5201 - 50th Ave

Yellowknife, NT X1A 3S9

Or by email: flood@gov.nt.ca

  • Appeals are accepted if a mistake was made and/or if information you provided (receipts, photos, support documents, etc.) was not considered.
  • Appeals are not accepted that deal with the Disaster Assistance Policy, the Disaster Assistance Funding Policy, or any associated guidelines. 
  • Appeal decisions are final and will be sent to you in writing, explaining how and why the appeal decision was made.

Can people get help to understand Disaster Financial Assistance or filing a claim? 

Yes.  Dealing with processes and paperwork after a disaster may be very stressful. Pathfinders are GNWT employees who guide individuals through GNWT processes related to disaster recovery. Pathfinders are available in person at the MACA office in the Hay River Courthouse or can be reached by phone or email at:

People can also reach out to their MACA regional office 

  • Beaufort Delta – Inuvik (867) 777-7121 or 1-877-777-3322
  • Dehcho – Fort Simpson (867) 695-7220
  • North Slave – Yellowknife (867) 767-9167
  • Sahtu - Norman Wells (867) 587-7100
  • South Slave - Fort Smith  (867) 872-6525

What supports are available if I am displaced from my home past the evacuation period?

There are two options. Displaced individuals may find accommodations elsewhere and apply for displacement allowance. The other option is to request to be placed in long-term accommodations by the GNWT, this could include a hotel room or a B&B.

How does displacement allowance work?

Displacement expenses refer to the period after evacuation centres have been stood down and you can go back to your community.  Displacement allowance is paid for a maximum of six (6) months if you are out of your home for 10 days or more in a given month.  Extensions may be provided on a case-by-case basis.  

Displacement allowance amounts are based on family size as indicated in the registration forms as follows:

  • $500/month - household of 1
  • $1,000/month - household of 2-5
  • $1,500/month - household of 6 or more

These costs are not eligible if:

  • You were able to return to your home,
  • You are asked to leave an accommodation (e.g., hotel or evacuation centre), provided by the GNWT, for being disrespectful to their staff, other occupants, or damaging their property.

You can apply for displacement allowance in you DAP claim, to find out more please consult the guidelines or speak to a Pathfinder at flood@gov.nt.ca or 767-9161 ext. 21031. You will be required to register in order to access this support.

How can the GNWT help with long-term accommodations if I am displaced from my home?

If you can’t return to your home or find your own accommodations for the period you are displaced the GNWT may be able to help you with accommodations. Please reach out to a Pathfinder at flood@gov.nt.ca or 767-9161 ext. 21031 to initiate the process. You will be required to register in order to access this support.