Financial assistance in a disaster

After a disaster, the provincial government may declare the event eligible for Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA). Once declared, the DFA program may provide applicants with financial assistance to restore uninsurable losses that are essential to your home, livelihood or community service.

Application process

Watch the DFA video on YouTube for clear instructions on how to apply and eligibility.


Step 1: Eligible events

If you've recently experienced a disaster and it's not on the eligible events list, contact your Indigenous or local government first.

There are no eligible events.

The Canadian Red Cross is providing financial support for communities in disaster response and recovery from 2021 fires, floods and extreme weather.


Step 2: Review eligible expenses

Financial assistance is meant to compensate for sudden, unexpected, and uninsurable losses. This may include building repairs, replacement of essential personal effects, eligible equipment and inventory, clean up and debris removal.

Eligible damage

Applicants can apply to more than one category.

Home owners and residential tenants

  • You must occupy the property as your principal residence
  • Seasonal or recreational properties aren’t eligible
  • If you are a landlord, you must apply and qualify as a small business owner

Charitable organizations

  • Must provide a benefit or service to the community
  • Must be registered under the provincial Societies Act

Small business owners

Your business must:

  • Be managed by the owner on a day-to-day basis
  • Must have at least $10,000 per year in revenue from the business
  • Have gross sales less than $2 million per year
  • Employ fewer than 50 employees at one time

Farm owners

Your farm must:

  • Be identified as a developing or established agricultural operation
  • Be owned and operated by a person whose full-time employment is a farmer 
  • Be the means by which the owner derives the majority of their income 

If a farm operation is incorporated, the small business eligibility criteria applies.

Also related: Food security flood recovery program

Ineligible damage

Insurable damages in the private sector aren’t eligible.

This includes damage caused by:

  • Wildfires 
  • Earthquakes
  • Snow load
  • Wind storms
  • Sewer or sump pit back-up
  • Water entry from above ground

Some ineligible items include:

  • Insurance deductibles
  • Non-essential and recreational items
  • Land lost due to erosion
  • Landscaping
  • Luxury goods

For full details, refer to the schedules below.

Determining if your damages are insurable or uninsurable

Contact your insurance provider as a first step. They will provide you with information about your insurance coverage.

Program staff are available to discuss how your insurance relates to your eligibility and application.

How compensation is calculated

Financial assistance is provided for each accepted claim at 80 percent of the amount of total eligible damage less $1,000, to a maximum of $400,000.

Eligible essential contents are compensated based on median value of the base model item. For example, a damaged TV would be compensated based on the value of a median priced base model TV regardless of the type or quality the applicant owned.

Structural compensation is limited to the cost to repair eligible damage caused by the event, using standard industry rates for things like drywall repair, debris removal, carpet removal and replacement.

Detailed information on expenses and program guidelines


Step 3: Submit application

Applications must be submitted within 90 days of the disaster being declared eligible and cannot be processed without your signature. Applications are  closed.

  1. Complete the appropriate application:
  2. Submit completed PDFs to Emergency Management BC:
    • E-mail: DFA@gov.bc.ca
    • Fax: 250-952-5542
    • Mail: DFA / PO Box 9201 Stn Prov Govt / Victoria B.C. V8W 9J1

Repairs can begin before your application is approved. Damage can be assessed both before and after it has been repaired. For repairs done before being assessed by our evaluator, we recommend taking photos or videos of the damage and keep all related receipts.


Making a determination

  1. You'll be contacted to discuss your application and damages, and if applicable, request additional documentation to confirm category eligibility.
    • All applicants will need to submit insurance information - Insurance template for home owners (PDF)
    • Be prepared to take calls about your application during and outside of standard government office hours
    • If you move or change your phone number after applying, please notify us
    • Return any documents requested as quickly as possible
  2. Once category eligibility has been determined, your file may be assigned to an evaluator who will contact you to assess the damage.
  3. Once a complete file review has been performed, a decision letter will be sent regarding your eligibility for funding.   
  4. If funding is approved, a cheque will be sent to your mailing address. You'll also receive a payment letter by mail or email.

Contact

If you have any questions or would like more information please contact the Disaster Financial Assistance team.