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The BCREA Blog is a platform for sharing the latest education news, economics statistics, issues relating to the profession and links to valuable resources for REALTORS®, stakeholders and the public.

Disaster Mitigation Funding on the Way

Published Jan 19, 2015

The federal government and the insurance industry have seen costs related to flooding and severe weather increase significantly in recent years. Making good on a promise in the 2014 federal budget, the Government of Canada has announced that the National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP) will begin on April 1, 2015.

It will reduce flood-related costs for all levels of government and contribute to establishing conditions for the introduction of a residential flood insurance market in Canada. The program will see $200 million distributed over five years, for cost-sharing for projects focused primarily on flood mitigation.

This is certainly good news for communities and residents across the country. The NDMP’s proactive approach is welcomed by BCREA, as a far more cost-effective way to manage disaster risk.

BCREA’s also pleased that technical studies, such as flood maps, may be eligible for funding under this program. Past cost-sharing arrangements have favoured only infrastructure projects, even though technical studies help determine what and whether infrastructure is necessary.

On the other hand, $200 million over five years isn’t a major investment. It’s in addition to the New Building Canada Fund, which makes $14 billion available for significant infrastructure projects. But even that commitment may not meet the needs of communities across the country, where aging infrastructure is a major challenge.

Another piece of good news is that the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements will continue to cover up to 90 per cent of eligible expenses for disaster recovery. The funding formula will be updated effective February 1, and the threshold will be adjusted to half the rate of inflation over the past 44 years. The details of the new formula will likely be important.

BCREA looks forward to more information about the National Disaster Mitigation Program, including the allocation of funds to provinces and territories and how the funds can be accessed.

For several years, BCREA has advocated for updated floodplain maps in BC to help ensure communities make informed decisions about growth and emergency response. For more information, visit www.bcrea.bc.ca/government-relations/flood-protection.

Public Safety Canada news release: The Government of Canada Announces Disaster Mitigation Investments and Modernizes Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (Jan. 16, 2015): www.news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=922139.

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