Natural Disaster Response
Saskatchewan Provincial Disaster Assistance Program (PDAP)
Adaptation includes proactive actions taken to mitigate against risks, such as planning for extreme moisture with flood control measures, as well as reactive actions that help mitigate against property losses arising from extreme events, such as a flooding. Private insurance, a personal responsibility, often covers some of the risks associated with natural disasters (e.g. fire and wind). Insurance policies will specify the “perils” for which coverage is available and “exclusions” of those risks and property not covered. Events such as flooding and the associated property damage are often not covered by insurance. In such cases society may chose to support victims by compensating them for a portion of their loss through special disaster assistance.
Saskatchewan has a Provincial Disaster Assistance Program (PDAP) that is cost-shared with the federal government. It provides financial assistance on uninsurable, essential property where there has been a natural disaster such as flooding, tornados, plough winds or heavy rain. It does not provide assistance for losses from drought, fire or fire- related costs. Claims are handled through a disaster designated municipality.
Saskatchewan is expected to experience more severe and frequent extreme weather events including flooding and drought. The impact on many communities and residents may be significant. Historically it has been more common for the agriculture community to access some form of disaster assistance or safety net programs since agriculture is so dependent on weather conditions. It has been much less common practice for communities, homeowners or businesses to access disaster funding. This may change in the future.
For example, in 2010, much of southern Saskatchewan experienced record rainfall. This led to widespread flooding, including Maple Creek and a wash-out along the Trans-Canada Highway. The PDAProgram offers the following assistance for property damage:
- Deductible for private claimants of five per cent;
- Maximum amount of financial assistance available to principal resident claimants of $240,000;
- Maximum amount of assistance to eligible small businesses, non-profit organizations, boards, and primary agricultural enterprises of $500,000;
- Maximum $30,000 relocation payment;
- Regional park authorities' eligibility same as municipalities; and
- Deductible for municipalities and regional parks fixed at 0.15 per cent of their current taxable assessment.
For the fiscal year 2010-2011, nearly 5000 claims from more than 200 municipalities have been received. The total cost of the financial assistance to these claimants is estimated to cost a total of between $40 and $45 million. This includes claims related to summer flooding from Maple Creek and Yorkton.
The PDAP is an important example of a government program and policy adaptation to extreme climate events.
- Government of Saskatchewan. (2010): PDAP Claimants Reminded that Claims are Still Being Accepted. News Release - December 22, 1010. http://www.gov.sk.ca/news?newsId=ecf22eac-4dec-45d1-a9a7-4cf242d6f0d7 [accessed January 25, 2011]
- Government of Saskatchewan. (2010): PDAP STRENGTHENS SUPPORT FOR FLOOD-STRICKEN COMMUNITIES – September 28, 2010. http://www.gov.sk.ca/news?newsId=a40808d4-96df-45cd-b2c7-4b9e3314aa19 [accessed January 25, 2011]
- Harford, D., Olewiler, N., Richards, J. (2010): Climate Change Adaptation: Linkages with Social Policy, ACT Simon Fraser University http://www.sfu.ca/act/Publications.html [access February 20, 2011]
- Insurance Bureau of Canada (n.d.): http://www.ibc.ca/en/Home_Insurance [Accessed January 25, 2011]
- International Institute for Sustainable Development (n.d.): The Insurance Industry and Climate Change on the Prairies A Status Report.
- International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (n.d.): Disaster Statistics. http://www.unisdr.org/disaster-statistics/introduction.htm [accessed January 28, 2011]
- Saskatchewan Corrections, Public Safety and Policing (2010): Provincial Disaster Assistance Program http://www.cpsp.gov.sk.ca/PDAP
- Saskatchewan Corrections, Public Safety and Policing (2010): Provincial Disaster Assistance Program Common Questions http://www.cpsp.gov.sk.ca/Default.aspx?DN=cc1071e3-731c-4aa9-a71a-f82e0db03f26