Expanded Disaster Financial Assistance Program
EMERGENCY MEASURES ORGANIZATION--Expanded Disaster Financial Assistance Program
The province is making sure commercial farmers, fishers and small commercial woodlot owners, whose livelihoods have been jeopardized by Hurricane Juan, are getting the help they need. The eligibility criteria for the province's current disaster financial assistance arrangement (DFAA) is being expanded to better assist the resource sectors.
"Agriculture, fishing and forestry -- these sectors have been a major economic driver and an important piece of our traditional way of life for hundreds of years," Ernest Fage, Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Organization, said today, Oct. 20. "We recognize that people in these resource sectors have had their livelihoods placed in jeopardy as a result of the hurricane so we have changed the current program to make assistance available to a greater number of people."
Enhancements to the program include the following changes:
In the agricultural sector:
-- the province will expand the level of assistance to include eligible losses on all lands that are used in a commercial agricultural business to earn income, regardless of who owns them; -- where insurance coverage is generally available but has been capped or otherwise limited by the insurance industry and the damage incurred to agricultural buildings exceeds the insurable coverage limitations, the province will provide additional assistance of up to $200,000 depending on the amount of uninsured damages.
In the fisheries sector:
- financial assistance for repairs and reconstruction of wharves that are considered essential to commercial fishing or other commercial ventures will be expanded to apply even if the fishermen/business owners do not own the wharf, as long as they have a legal right to use it;
- the current verification process has been streamlined to provide financial assistance on the basis of documentation attesting to the loss, so that those who require money to repair wharves or replace their gear can be ready for the coming fishing season;
- where necessary, additional assistance of up to $50,000 will be provided so that wharves can be repaired or reconstructed to meet today's building code and/or environmental standards.
In the forestry sector:
- small commercial woodlot owners who would not otherwise be eligible will now have a degree of financial assistance to remove damaged wood in order to prepare the site for natural regeneration or replanting.
Applications for assistance can be made at any of the designated municipal and provincial locations already assisting with the application process. The deadline for submission of applications is Friday, Nov. 21 at 4:30 p.m.
If an individual has already submitted a DFAA application, there is no need to re-apply. All applications will be reviewed using the new criteria.
Although estimates of the total financial impact of Hurricane Juan are still being established, it is expected that the province's share of the DFAA program, including the new expanded eligibility criteria, will be included in government's commitment of up to $10,000,000.
Individuals with inquiries related to the disaster financial assistance program, or those wanting to know the designated sites for applications, can call the province's public information line at 1-800-670-4357 (902-424-5200 in the Halifax Regional Municipality).
FOR BROADCAST USE:
The Province of Nova Scotia is expanding the eligibility criteria for its current disaster financial assistance program to better assist the agriculture, fishery and forestry sectors.
Under the expanded program, more commercial farmers, fishers and small commercial woodlot owners will be eligible for assistance.
The changes mean more assistance for the repair of agricultural buildings, commercial wharves, replacement of fishing gear and for small commercial woodlots not previously eligible.
Applications for assistance can be made at one of the designated municipal and provincial sites already assisting with the applications process.
For more information on the disaster financial assistance program, call 1-800-670-4357 (or 902-424-5200 in the Halifax Regional Municipality).