About 140,255 Nova Scotians have signed up to receive a $100 cheque to help replace food that was spoiled after Hurricane Fiona left them without power for more than two days.
Nearly 6,000 Nova Scotians have applied to receive $250 to help with the cost of tree removal. Another several hundred Nova Scotians who were forced to leave their homes because of damage from the storm in late September received $1,000 in provincial emergency funding delivered through the Canadian Red Cross.
Nova Scotians who receive income assistance automatically received an additional $150.
The Halifax Examiner received these and other figures related to hurricane relief programs from Blaise Theriault, a spokesperson for Service Nova Scotia.
All of the programs above are still taking applications, as is the Seniors Care Grant program that provides $250 to low-income seniors. Small businesses can receive a one-time grant of $2,500 if their business was forced to close or sustained damage from the hurricane.
Value of losses estimated at $385 million
Homeowners, tenants, small businesses, and non-profit organizations are all eligible to apply for money to cover “uninsurable losses” from Fiona through the province’s Disaster Mitigation Fund. The province will later apply to Ottawa to recover provincial expenditures tied to storm relief.
So far, there have been only 300 applications to the Disaster Mitigation Fund from people with uninsurable losses. That’s despite the fact applicants will pay no deductible and losses of up to $200,000 may qualify, depending on the circumstances. Examples may include damage to appliances such as furnaces, washers, and dryers or to the structure of the home itself.
To receive disaster relief for uninsurable losses and avoid double-dipping, potential claimants must include a statement from their insurance company verifying that the insurer will not cover certain losses.
All provincial assistance programs, except one to help farmers with storm damage, are still taking applications. Early estimates from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) put the value of losses in Nova Scotia resulting from the wide path of destruction in the range of $385 million.
In terms of insurable losses, the IBC ranks Fiona tenth on its Top 10 disaster list. Nova Scotia Power estimates it cost about $48 million to restore electricity to 80% of its customers as a result of downed power lines. That is the utility’s most expensive storm cleanup ever.
Feds to help fund climate projects
The province’s Climate Risk Assessment study, which has been underway since 2018, must be released by the end of December, according to a legislated deadline. It will be closely followed a Climate Adaptation Plan. A National Climate Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan were released last week.
Ottawa is adding $1.6 billion over five years to help provinces and municipalities with flood-mapping, implementation of new building codes to make structures less prone to damage, as well as access to more climate data. Total federal spending on adapting to climate change is budgeted at $8 billion over the next five years. The Insurance Bureau of Canada has said that figure should be doubled.
Although large infrastructure projects such as protecting the Chignecto Isthmus are not eligible, municipal and provincial projects starting at $1 million that could slow coastal erosion, prevent wildfires, and reduce the impact of heat domes like the one which claimed lives in British Columbia are now eligible for federal funding under the Action Plan.
The Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan says, “By 2030, the average annual loss from disasters is forecast to reach $15.4 billion — a forecast that can be reduced by ambitious adaptation action. Flooding is Canada’s costliest hazard, with average residential costs of $2.9 billion per year.”