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Public Safety Minister Kris Austin. Image: Government of New Brunswick YouTube video capture

N.B. Changes Disaster Financial Assistance Program

By Allan Dearing Feb 22, 2023 | 3:06 PM

In an effort to balance helping those in need and being prudent with taxpayer dollars, the provincial government has made changes to the Disaster Financial Assistance program in response to larger and more frequent weather events.

“In New Brunswick over the past nine years, there have been 12 events that have prompted the need for disaster financial assistance,” noted Public Safety Minister Kris Austin.

“Over that span, New Brunswick has sustained an estimated total of $369 million in damage. All the provinces and the federal government are struggling with the rising costs and how to address them.”

Austin announced the changes during a media briefing in Fredericton on Wednesday.

“This program is now going to get more assistance to people who need it. But it’s not going to be the type of assistance that’s completely unending.”

Austin said the changes will make it easier for someone who lives in a flood-prone area and wants to move.

“If they choose to stay, that option is there and we’ve also looked at mitigation funding to help folks get their homes prepared for when disaster happens again.”

Three key changes are being made:

  • Increasing the maximum payout for structural damage.
  • Setting a cap on the amount of assistance paid for any property for the same type of disaster.
  • Lowering the threshold for buyouts for those affected by floods.

Here are how some of the changes will work:

  • Until now, the maximum a homeowner could file for under disaster financial assistance was $160,000 per incident causing structural damage. This limit has been increased and capped at $200,000 for private homes for claims related to the same type of disaster (flooding, coastal storm surge, etc.).If a property is damaged three times by overland flooding, for example, and the property owner makes claims of $60,000, $60,000, and $80,000, the property owner can no longer make another claim related to overland flooding.
  • Once the $200,000 limit has been reached, a notice will be placed on the provincial government’s land registry, stating the property is no longer eligible for the government’s disaster financial assistance funding for inland or coastal flooding.
  • Previously, for a homeowner to be offered a buyout, damage had to be 80 percent of the property’s fair market value; for example, a $200,000 property had to have sustained $160,000 worth of structural damage. For future disasters, the threshold has changed to 50 percent arising from one event, or 80 percent accumulated across multiple disasters, such as flooding.


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