When it comes to wildfires, floods, rainstorms and even ice storms, the cleanup and recovery don't come cheap. The country's disaster assistance program helps cover some of the costs that come with these big events and lately the bills have been pretty high. Natural disasters in Canada are now costing the government an average of $430 million a year. 

Over the last three years, Canada's bills for natural disasters have reached ridiculously high amounts.

The Disaster Financial Assistance program was billed $485.8 million in 2016-17, $494.9 million in 2017-18 and $309.5 million in 2018-19. 

That works out to an annual average of $430 million for recovery following natural disasters. 

All of that money was spent to help provinces cover the costs of spring flooding and major rainstorms, which is where most of the funding went, along with wildfires and one ice storm.

This Public Safety Canada data also helps to show exactly how the country was one of the worst affected by climate change in 2018.

"A warmer climate will intensify some weather extremes in the future," an Environment Canada report on the country's changing climate stated. "Extreme hot temperatures will become more frequent and more intense. This will increase the severity of heatwaves, and contribute to increased drought and wildfire risks."

The report also noted that more intense rainfalls can increase the risk of major flooding.

Saskatchewan experienced two damaging rainstorms in June 2012 but the disaster program funding wasn't actually approved until June 2016.

Disaster Financial Assistance offers provinces help only when the cost of major events like wildfires or floods is higher than an amount that's predetermined based on the province's population.

As for how this money is spent, the provincial governments have up to six months to ask for funding under the Disaster Financial Assistance program and it could take years to for that request to be filled or it could take just a few months.

Back in 2016, the Red Cross was given $104 million for the Fort McMurray wildfire that led to the evacuation of the entire city after it promised to match donations Canadians made to the organization for its work helping those affected by it.

In 2017, B.C. got $175 million in assistance for wildfires during the summer in just a few months and then in 2018, the federal government gave the Red Cross $38 million to help with the wildfires that year.

Canada has also gotten international help to battle wildfires, including resources from Australia that were lent four times.

With fires raging in Australia, Canada is now repaying the favour and helping out with firefighters and fire specialists.

The federal program has been helping with disasters since 1970 and has given out an estimated $5.4 billion since then. 

Of that, $1.3 billion was from the last three years alone.


There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.


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