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B.C. has received less than 20% of federal funds promised for 2021 flooding, landslides

More funding expected to arrive in March 2023, but pace appears slow so far
B.C. has received only 18 per cent of federal support to deal with the effects of the 2021 atmospheric river that caused flooding and landslides across the province, including Merritt. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

More than a year after flooding, landslides and extreme weather caused billions of damage in B.C., the province is still waiting on the bulk of federal support.

The Office of the Auditor General pegs the response and recovery from the effects of the historic atmospheric river in November of 2021 at $3.5 billion, a figure that represents more than 50 per cent of all the estimated costs for all weather-related disasters in the past 20 years combined.

By the end of March 2022, the province received $824 million — or 18 per cent — of the $4.475 billion in federal support. The payment was part of a larger federal payment of $870 million received in July 2022. Emergency Management BC and the ministry of public safety expects to receive a further $557 million before March 31.

These figures are once again raising questions about the pace of the federal response.

B.C. is eligible for federal support under a program administered by Public Safety Canada. The federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements offers assistance to provinces and territories by request when response and recovery costs following extreme weather events.

Federal program guidelines allow EMBC to ask for upfront payments of up to 50 per cent based on reasonable estimates of future costs.

RELATED: B.C. mayors dealing with flooding and wildfire damage call on feds to deliver funds

Summer 2021 also brought destructive wildfires to the province. Federal supports for those events topped $307 million and so far B.C. has received $207 million — or 67 per cent — as of June 2022.

Black Press Media has reached out to the provincial government and Public Safety Canada for comment.


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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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