Federal government gives $500 million for flood recovery
Province: Funds to cover expenses already incurred
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 12:18 pm
The federal government has made a quick and substantial payment to the provincial government to help cover the costs of responding to last year’s floods in southern Alberta.
Last week the federal government provided an advance payment of $500 million in federal funding under the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA) for costs incurred by the Province of Alberta.
"Today, we are taking the next step in helping the people of Alberta rebuild,” said Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. “Much work has been done, but still much more remains. This advance payment will help Alberta to rebuild communities, businesses and infrastructure. We stand ready to assist the province, and we will continue to work with our provincial counterparts to finalize payments under the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements Program.”
Under the DFAA, the federal government will cover up to 90 per cent of disaster relief costs.
The federal budget unveiled in February included $2.8 billion to help cover the costs of flood response and recovery efforts in Alberta.
The federal budget also proposes providing $200 million over five years starting in 2015 for a national disaster mitigation program. The program would support construction of infrastructure to control floods and reduce their potential impacts. The government will announce more details in the coming months.
On the provincial side, the government of Alberta has committed $1.1 billion over the next three years to go towards the flood recovery.
The federal government has been criticized for being slow to come forward with funding after previous floods.
Ken Hughes, Alberta Municipal affairs minister, said last week’s announcement marks a positive change in course and he’s grateful for the prompt support.
“This has been a generous upfront contribution from the government of Canada because they know it’s going to be considerably more than half-a-billion,” he said.
Hughes said the federal dollars will go towards costs already incurred by the provincial government.
“We’ve spent the money upfront and they’re reimbursing us as an advance on expenses,” he said.
Hughes noted former premier Alison Redford asked for $1 billion from the federal government.
He said they don’t yet know when the remaining federal funds will be handed over, but the Province government will work with the federal government to ensure the remaining funds are come through.
Macleod Conservative candidate John Barlow is pleased to see the federal government provide a substantial payment to the province to cover flood relief.
He said a quick response was needed not only to cover costs already incurred, but also to prepare for flood mitigation projects that will need to be completed.
“We have to react to this quickly, obviously there’s going to be some substantial infrastructure needs, especially for us in the Macleod riding,” he said. “We’re not going to have a lot of these projects done in time for this spring, but time is of the essence. We have to make sure the funding is there to proceed with the flood mitigation and diversion options when they are chosen.”