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Disaster Recovery Assistance for Communities in Alberta

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About the Disaster Recovery Programs in Alberta

The Disaster Recovery Program in Alberta was initiated in the early Eighties. Both the federal and the provincial programs were formalized to address the rising number of disasters.Learn a few details about how specific disaster recovery programs in the Province of Alberta developed.

In the early 1980’s there wasn’t really any type of program specific to disaster recovery because most events were few and far between. In the later 1990’s and beginning in 2000, flooding was occurring on an annual or biannual basis, particularly in Southern Alberta.

In response to disasters, the federal and provincial governments agreed on a recovery process that involved a cost share process and was intended to assist with those incremental expenses that could not be covered by insurance. At that time flood insurance (overland or seepage) was not available to most Canadians.

The Alberta Disaster Recovery Guidelines were created to assist Albertans and ensure that there was a maximum return from the federal program. The minister at that time indicated that other than BBQ’s, Alberta would not pay for anything that could not be recovered from the federal program. The federal program also outlined that the regular costs of provincial or municipal expenses in terms of recovery were NOT eligible for reimbursement. “Incremental” costs, such as hiring people to provide services specific to the recovery WERE eligible.

That is why the Alberta government outsourced the delivery of that program to a private company. The entire cost of those services would be eligible for the cost share formula. The program and its policies were driven by recovering as much funding from the federal government as possible. For many years that was a successful venture as the contractor was only an expense throughout the time that it was providing recovery services. For most part, the government of Alberta was receiving between 90–95% of the assistance funding that was being requested. Most of the events were flood related primarily to seepage.

At this time the Alberta Wildfire Assistance Program was also created to assist municipalities in responding to the emergency costs and firefighting costs that were being incurred from sustainable resources.

The 2013 Southern Alberta flood event, proved to be the biggest flood involving overland flooding of rivers. Following that event, the government of Alberta directed the Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) to take complete responsibility for the Disaster Recovery Program and process all of the various types of applications through that agency.

Currently that agency is responsible for the delivery of disaster recovery programs, including the municipal applications.