VICTORIA, B.C. – After catastrophic flooding in November of 2021, the province says its making adjustments to its disaster financial assistance program.

The province says the changes will allow the province to provide up-front financial contributions toward community recovery projects, increase their contributions to recovery programs, and expand eligibility to cover more people and small businesses.

The regulation changes will make more farm operators, rental unit owners and small businesses eligible for disaster financial assistance by adjusting the qualification criteria.

Beginning Thursday, April 28th, the province re-opened applications to the program until July 27th to allow businesses to apply for assistance under the new eligibility requirements.

“The catastrophic flooding in November 2021 highlighted the limitations of our disaster financial assistance program, and given the scale of the disaster, we need to make changes quickly,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety.

“These changes will help ensure people, First Nations and local governments impacted by severe flooding aren’t facing insurmountable costs and will improve the program so we can respond faster next time and provide more support to those impacted.”

The disaster financial assistance program changes include increasing provincial contributions to local infrastructure recovery, up-front cash flow to communities from the province, expanding eligibility based on minimum income, and increasing maximum annual revenue for small businesses.

The updated eligibility requirements also include corporation-owned properties.

For homes owned by corporations, the new changes will allow people to apply for Disaster Financial Assistance if they have a clear connection to the corporation and use the home as a primary residence, which is not uncommon in the farming sector.

The province claims that this will address a gap in the current regulation, which does not allow people to apply for DFA when their home is held in the name of a corporation.

Previously, disaster financial assistance only applied to an applicant’s primary residence.

In situations where a corporation owns a home, such as through a farm or other small business, the corporation could not claim a homeowner grant and was therefore ineligible for disaster financial assistance.

The province says that further changes to disaster financial assistance are expected as part of the modernization of the Emergency Program Act.

To learn more about the program, click here.

Spencer Hall is a news reporter for energeticcity.ca and a recent graduate of the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Radio Arts & Entertainment program. Growing up in Northwest B.C. made Spencer aware of the importance of local journalism, independent media, and reconciliation. In his spare time, you can find Spencer reading, playing video games, or at the FSJ dog park with his dog, Teddy.