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Disaster Financial Assistance
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Disaster Financial Assistance: Provides support to rebuild

People apply for Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) when they have lost their home or essential belongings and are uninsured or don’t have enough insurance to cover their losses. They are looking to government for help amid disaster to rebuild their homes.

In 2021, private sector DFA was only available for losses related to the atmospheric river. DFA provided over $32.6 million in assistance to BC homeowners and tenants impacted by the atmospheric river events. However, DFA support is limited in scope by design, and people experienced significant delays, unclear procedures and poor communication.

"Making people wait in limbo for months on end is unacceptable. It took DFA nine months to tell us we didn’t qualify for help... Now we are in the process of appealing the decision, which also takes time... We can’t go to the bank and ask for a construction loan until these other avenues are decided on. So we continue to be in limbo and it looks like that will be the case for many months to come."


Most people who applied for DFA had not received payment after six months, and for some, it was more than a year. The program did not have enough staff or resources in place to make timely decisions on DFA applications and appeals. Delays caused financial and emotional stress for people.

The program did not communicate clearly – and sometimes did not communicate at all – with applicants at key stages of the process. When people could not get information, decisions appeared inconsistent and unfair. Many homeowners and tenants who appealed DFA decisions still do not have an answer.

DFA was only offered to homeowners and renters for the atmospheric river events, not for the wildfires, because of the availability of residential fire insurance. The program only provides partial reimbursement of costs to replace “the necessities of life” – basic, essential belongings and home. The program has not considered equity in its communications, process, or decision-making, and it does not collect relevant data about who accesses the program.


Monthly progress on processing DFA applications, March 2022 to March 2023

Overall payments to applicants

Atmospheric river payments to homeowner and residential tenant applicants, as of March 2023

Data provided by Emergency Management BC.

*Private sector applications only