Province completes review of DFA Program

Trevor Terfloth/The Daily News Due to heavy rainfall, there was localized flooding along low-lying areas near the Thames River. Shown is the river in downtown Chatham on Saturday. High levels are expected to continue until the middle of this week. jpg, CD

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Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler, minister responsible for emergency measures, announced an improved provincial disaster financial assistance (DFA) program will result from recommendations made following an extensive program review done in collaboration with municipalities.

“When natural disasters strike, DFA helps Manitobans and municipalities recover while eliminating unreasonable financial burdens,” Schuler said.  “By working together with municipalities on this review, we are ensuring the DFA program works best for Manitobans when they need it most.”

The review was conducted in collaboration with Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) and the Manitoba Municipal Administrators Association.  The review group conducted direct and meaningful consultations with municipal, federal and industry stakeholders to gain a better understanding of their unique perspective on the DFA program.

Recommendations to improve DFA included:
• providing more training and information on the DFA program in a variety of formats so that people better understand what is needed when navigating through a DFA claim,
• enabling online access to check on submitted claims and digital methods for submitting documentation,
• improving the timeliness of municipal inspections so they occur sooner after a disaster, and
• providing clear criteria for when a DFA program is established.

“Municipal officials are on the frontlines protecting local communities when responding to natural disasters and extreme weather events,” said Ralph Groening, president, AMM.  “The recommendations in this report identify several opportunities to streamline the provincial Disaster Financial Assistance program and make it more responsive to local needs during times of emergency.”

The report can be viewed in its entirety at www.gov.mb.ca/emo/recover/index.html.

When a natural disaster occurs, the Manitoba government may declare the event eligible for DFA.  The Manitoba Emergency Measures Act allows the government to provide financial assistance if the event meets the criteria outlined in the act and the Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) administers DFA.  The Manitoba government will look at the impacts and circumstances of an event to determine if it meets the DFA program requirements.  DFA programs are established after evaluation on a per event basis.

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