News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

January 29, 2015

PREMIER SELINGER CRITICIZES FEDERAL CHANGES TO NATIONAL DISASTER FINANCIAL AID PROGRAM



The federal government’s decision to make significant changes to the national program that assists Manitobans affected by flooding puts an additional burden on provinces and territories as they face economic uncertainty, Premier Greg Selinger said prior to a meeting of Canada’s premiers in Ottawa tomorrow.

The federal government changed the funding structure of the disaster financial assistance arrangements (DFAA) earlier this month, which will reduce the amount of federal money available to people affected by disasters.

“While this change affects all Canadians, we are especially concerned about its impact in Manitoba because of the frequency of flood events in recent years,” said Premier Selinger.  “This decision also comes as we approach the spring flood season and we continue our budget preparations.

“Dropping oil prices puts immense pressures on the Canadian and provincial economies and changing the DFAA adds to economic woes.”

The changes, which come into effective Feb. 1, represent the first time in 40 years the federal disaster program has been changed.  If these changes had been in effect in 2000, they would have cost the province an additional $54.9 million, Premier Selinger said.

“Under the new rules, a disaster in Manitoba would have to reach $3.9 million before federal cost-sharing would begin.  The previous limit was $1.3 million,” said Premier Selinger.  “The 90-10 cost-sharing formula, where the federal government pays 90 per cent of the costs, won’t kick in until Manitoba’s costs reach almost $20 million.  The previous threshold was $6.5 million.  The impact to rural and northern communities in particular will be significant.”

“Recent changes to the DFAA formula could negatively impact communities all across Manitoba,” said Doug Dobrowolski, president, Association of Manitoba Municipalities.  “Our member municipalities are still recovering from recent unprecedented floods and expect all levels of government to work together to assist them during these difficult times.”

Premier Selinger said he wanted also to focus on aboriginal issues on the agenda including the continued call for an inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and reducing the number of aboriginal children in care.  He added that proper funding for education for Indigenous people is vital.

Other important agenda items for Manitoba at the Ottawa conference include infrastructure investments and discussions on issues affecting seniors.

Premier Selinger said continued progress on these issues demands strong stewardship on the economy and that this is not a time to reduce funding.

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