DFA for Small Business

The Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) program assists small businesses by providing financial support after a disaster.

In order to qualify for DFA, your small business must:

  • have yearly gross revenues of between $10,000 and $2 million
  • employ no more than 20 full time workers
  • be owner-operated and the owner-operator must be the day-to-day manager
  • have an owner-operator who owns at least 50% of the business

If you qualify and your small business has been impacted by a disaster, check first with your insurance provider to review your policy coverage. Then follow the steps below.

Take every possible practical action to reduce the impact of damage to your property.  Following a disaster, actions to reduce impacts should begin as soon as it is safe and practical to do so (i.e. cleaning, stripping and drying property and goods quickly). Visit the Recover section of our website for resources on how to clean up properly.

Contact your insurance provider to find out what costs may be covered under your insurance policy.

Notify your local municipality that you have been impacted by a disaster.

Ensure you do the following so you have proper records in place to receive all the assistance you are entitled to under the DFA program:

  • Take pictures of all damaged property and items before you dispose of anything.
  • Keep track of all your disaster-related repairs and activities including:
    • Labour and equipment hours.
    • Materials used, including quantities.
    • Specific types of equipment used, including make, model, year, horsepower and attachments.
    • Extra mileage.
    • Receipts, invoices and other documents you need to support your DFA claim.
  • Keep all receipts, invoices and any other documents for disaster related expenses as they are required in order to support your DFA claim. Invoices submitted to Manitoba EMO must be accompanied by the corresponding proof of payment (e.g. credit/debit slip, cancelled cheque) in order to be considered for eligibility.

Apply for DFA using the online application form. Once you've started to fill out the online application form it can't be saved to complete at a later date. You have 90 days from the announcement of a DFA program to submit an application form to Manitoba EMO.

In order to process your DFA claim, Manitoba EMO also requires the following mandatory documents:

  • The most recent property tax bill for your property to confirm the property value and property ownership of all affected parcels of land and structures.
  • A copy of the insurance declaration form, completed by your insurance broker.
  • A signed, original copy of the Financial Assistance Application. The names on this document must match the names on the tax documents submitted to Manitoba EMO.
  • Tax information (send copies of all that apply to you):
    • For a small business that is a sole proprietorship, a complete copy of the most recent T1 General income tax return.
    • For a small business that is a partnership, complete copies of the most recent T1 General income tax return for both partners.
    • For a small business that is a limited company, a copy of your articles of incorporation, a complete copy of the most recent income tax return.
  • Payroll Records to verify work force size may be requested.

You can also download the form and print it, call to have one mailed to you, or visit your municipal office.

If a DFA program is established, you will be contacted by Manitoba EMO to do a preliminary screening. Information will be requested about what type of damages occurred, your yearly gross revenue, number of employees and ownership. If it is determined that you are not eligible for DFA, you will be notified by letter.

If it is determined that you may be eligible for DFA, an inspection of your property will be arranged. This process can take some time.

If the preliminary screening of your application suggests you may be eligible for DFA, an onsite inspection of your property will be arranged. An inspector will contact you to pick a time and day that works for you. To prepare for the inspection, ensure:

  • A person is there to meet the inspector (preferably, the person most familiar with the damages to the property).
  • A person is there who knows about any temporary repairs made to the property and the conditions prior to the repairs (pictures are needed to verify conditions).
  • You tell the inspector about any damages from the event, even if repaired. The inspector cannot necessarily identify temporary repairs made and needs to be aware of any and all damages during the inspection.

Once an inspection has been completed, your claim will be evaluated in accordance with DFA policies and guidelines to determine the assistance that may be available to you. Not all damages are eligible for DFA. The following items are typically eligible, but it is always best to contact Manitoba EMO if you have specific questions about eligibility:

  • Business supplies.
  • Essential work clothing.
  • Costs to respond to a flood, like temporary dikes or operating water pumps.
  • Mandatory evacuation costs (costs associated with voluntary evacuations are NOT eligible).
  • Removal of temporary dikes.
  • Clean up and removal of debris.
  • Repair and restoration of essential buildings for the small business.

The following items are typically ineligible for DFA:

  • Costs related to dry conditions.
  • Losses that could have been covered by insurance. DFA is not paid out if insurance for your damages was available and you declined to purchase it.
    • Insurance for overland flooding and groundwater seepage is available to most Manitobans.
    • Other insurable hazards include but not limited to: fire, snow load, wind damage, back-up or escape of water/sewage are not eligible for DFA.
  • Non-essential items like books, recreational items, snowmobiles, ATVs, trailers, sophisticated audio/visual equipment.
  • Lawn and garden damage.
  • Fences (residential or decorative).
  • Costs recoverable through another government program.
  • Loss of income and opportunity or inconveniences.
  • Normal operating costs.
  • Upgrading existing facilities.
  • Damage that is a normal risk of trade, occupation or enterprise.
  • Losses that are recoverable at through legal proceedings.

DFA is not a substitute for private insurance. Insurance products are becoming more widely available for disasters like overland flooding and cover costs like mandatory evacuations and property flood mitigation. It is important that you talk to your insurance provider about coverage options available to you. Assistance through the DFA program is not available if insurance for your damages was available and declined by you. DFA requires your insurance provider give us a written statement about your insurance coverage and what was available to you before your claim can be evaluated for DFA.

The DFA program helps Manitobans recover from natural disasters by providing financial assistance for uninsurable losses to basic and essential property.

You must provide invoices to demonstrate repairs have been completed and costs have been incurred. Original proof of payment must also be provided. All mandatory documents must be submitted to Manitoba EMO before payment will be issued.

For all eligible costs, the maximum amount of DFA available for small businesses is $300,000. A standard 20 per cent deductible is also applied to DFA payments.

An initial payment may be issued based on losses and damages noted during the inspection and basic documentation you provide. Examples include:

  • Response costs including evacuation, water extraction, cleaning, debris clean up, labour and equipment
  • Building components and finishes such as walls, floors, doors, windows and cabinets
  • Clothing, furniture, small appliances and miscellaneous items

Additional payments may be issued when paid invoice of repair (or replacement) is provided. Examples include:

  • Large appliances and mechanical components such as heating, plumbing and electrical systems
  • Structural and foundation repairs
  • Driveway and site repairs

DFA programs are open for a period of one year from the time the DFA program is established.

All repairs must be done and all required documents must be submitted to Manitoba EMO by the program closure date.

In exceptional circumstances, an extension may be granted if more time is required to return your property to its pre-disaster condition. Formal extension requests must be submitted in writing before the program closure date. Contact Manitoba EMO for more information on extensions.

If you feel you have not received all of the assistance you are entitled to, you can appeal the decision. You can base your appeal on two grounds: that your application was deemed ineligible under an approved DFA program or you feel your claim amount is less than what you are entitled to. You cannot appeal the decision not to establish a DFA program. Information on submitting an appeal is provided once your claim is closed. A request for an appeal must be in writing and must clearly state the reason for the appeal.

  • Step 1 – Internal Review. This step involves an internal review of your claim decision by the Director of Recovery and Mitigation of Manitoba EMO. The appeal must be submitted within 30 days of receiving Manitoba EMO’s written decision regarding your application, or receiving your final payment. The Director of Recovery and Mitigation will conduct the internal review and then confirm, set aside, or change the original decision.
  • Step 2 – Appeal to the Manitoba Disaster Assistance Appeal Board. If you are not satisfied with the internal review, a second-stage appeal can be submitted, in writing, to the Manitoba Disaster Assistance Appeal Board. All decisions made by the Board are final and binding. To appeal, you must include:
    • Your internal review decision from Step 1 above.
    • The grounds for your appeal.
    • Reference to the provincial Disaster Financial Assistance Regulation or the federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements to support your appeal request.