Saskatchewan has retroactively raised the cap on its provincial disaster assistance program (PDAP) to $500,000 from $160,000 for farms and some small businesses.
Premier Brad Wall on Tuesday announced a list of changes to the PDAP retroactive to the start of the province’s fiscal year on April 1, allowing the changes to apply against eligible losses from this summer’s storms.
“Unprecedented” severe weather this summer has led to over 100 Saskatchewan communities designated as eligible disaster areas since June, the government said in a release, noting substantial damage at Yorkton, Maple Creek, North Battleford, Saskatoon, Raymore and nearby Kawacatoose First Nation.
“Many people have told us that long-standing and current support levels were inadequate,” Wall said in the release. “That’s why today we are responding to that concern by lowering the deductible and raising the cap for those who suffered damages.”
The changes boost the maximum amount of assistance to “eligible small businesses, non-profit organizations, boards, and primary agricultural enterprises” from $160,000 to $500,000.
They also eliminate a Saskatchewan residency requirement which until now has applied to non-resident owners of farms and other “agricultural enterprises” and eligible small businesses.
Among other changes, the PDAP will now:
- cut the deductible for eligible private claimants down to five per cent from 20 — a move which, for example, would provide another $1,500 in compensation to someone with $10,000 in eligible damages;
- fix the deductible for eligible municipalities and regional parks at 0.15 per cent of their current taxable assessments;
- boost the maximum amount of aid to “principal resident” claimants to $240,000, up from $160,000;
- separate the maximum $30,000 relocation payment from a related property claim; and
- make regional park authorities’ eligibility equal to that of municipalities.
The PDAP is meant to provide financial aid covering “essential, uninsurable” property damaged by floods, tornadoes, plow winds or severe storms.