Disaster Financial Assistance

When a widespread natural disaster strikes and creates an unreasonable financial burden, DFA may be made available to help local authorities restore eligible infrastructure to a functional state. DFA is not available for COVID-19 as it is a pandemic health emergency, not a natural disaster.

The Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) administers DFA programs in accordance with the approved DFA polices and guidelines in effect at the time of the disaster. Disaster Financial Assistance Policy and Guidelines (Public Sector) Regulations (PDF 197KB)

New for 2020: Disaster Financial Assistance Mitigation and Preparedness Program

In order to assist municipalities to mitigate against future disasters, when Manitoba establishes a DFA program that is eligible for cost-sharing with Canada under the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements, municipalities would have the option to either:

  • Pay the Provincial/Municipal DFA deductible (based on the new formula), or
  • Invest an amount equal to the Provincial/Municipal DFA deductible into a disaster mitigation and preparedness project. Manitoba would then reimburse municipalities for 100% of their eligible DFA claim. Projects must be approved by the Manitoba government.

Disaster Financial Assistance Facts

Manitoba EMO has prepared fact sheets to answer municipalities’ questions about the DFA program.

This information is intended to provide local authorities with the basic information necessary to understand the DFA claim process.



Local Authorities include councils of: a municipality, an incorporated city, town or village, a community as defined in The Northern Affairs Act, a local government district, a conservation district or any other local authority as defined by The Emergency Measures Act.

Eligible Costs

Assistance is generally available for:

  • Response costs at the direction of an authorized official
    • incurred for the construction and removal of temporary dikes
    • for operation of water pumps and/or other equipment and machinery to prevent or limit damage to eligible infrastructure
    • for setup and operation of a community Emergency Operation Centre (EOC)
  • Evacuation costs
    • incurred when an authorized official orders the evacuation of persons or animals (expenses for accommodations, food and other essentials are in accordance with Manitoba Emergency Social Services rates.)
  • Restoration costs
    • Clean-up and debris removal from ditches and culverts
    • Infrastructure damage
      • repair of roads, streets and bridges
      • repair to public facilities

Ineligible Costs

Assistance is not available for:

  • Pandemic health emergencies (e.g. COVID-19)
  • Normal operating costs including but not limited to:
    • salaries and wages of regular employees (other than overtime)
    • regular grading of roads
    • regular maintenance of drains, ditches, culverts and drains including removal of snow or debris
    • other regular operating and maintenance expenditures
  • Purchase or acquisition of capital assets
  • Upgrades or improvements to infrastructure made during repairs (unless approved in advance by EMO)
  • Costs recoverable through other government programs
  • Losses recoverable at law
  • Any cost or expense not directly resulting from the specific disaster event

Step 1 - Track all activities and expenses

Before, during and after the disaster, keep track of all your activities and expenses directly relating to the event. In order to verify your claim you need to provide documentation describing what happened, what actions you have taken and invoices for expenses you have incurred specific to each site. Wherever possible, photographs or videos of the event and resulting damages should be taken and made available to EMO. Local authorities must establish separate files and accounting records to distinguish emergency expenditures from regular operating and maintenance expenditures. Municipalities must identify the damaged site(s) and indicate on a municipal map where the damaged sites are located.

Step 2 - Community Impact Assessment and Resolution Requesting Disaster Financial Assistance

Community Impact Assessment is critical to determining if a DFA program will be established and should be prepared accurately and submitted as soon as possible. Community Impact Assessments(s) are reviewed to determine if eligible costs arising from the disaster event would result in an unreasonable financial burden to the community.

Local authorities must submit a Council Resolution requesting assistance. A Council Resolution should include a detailed Community Impact Assessment if one has not already been submitted.

If the criteria of widespread damage and unreasonable financial burden are met then a DFA Program may be approved. All local authorities who have requested DFA will be notified about this decision.

Step 3 - When a DFA Program is approved

  • EMO will assign a Recovery Advisor to:
    • answer your question regarding eligibility and procedures
    • contact you if additional information is required
    • be available to answer questions
  • The Local Authority will be requested to:
    • submit municipal maps indicating the location of damage sites
    • identify sites where pre-emptive action was taken and/or damage occurred
    • assign consecutive numbers for each site to allow for accurate record keeping
    • prepare site damage reports and estimate

DFA programs are open for a period of 12 months. Applicants will be advised of the program closure date and must complete repairs and submit all the required documentation to EMO by the program closure date. Requests for extension periods will only be considered under exceptional circumstances.

Local Authorities may request and Accountable Advance on their claim. When supported by appropriate accounting records, Accountable Advances will be provided for 60% of incurred costs to a maximum of $100,000.

Step 4 - Inspection

Each and every site where event related damage occurred must have a site report prepared by a relevant technical authority. EMO will arrange a site inspection by technical experts. Site inspection reports written by the local authority or agencies other than the one appointed by EMO cannot be accepted unless pre-approved in advance by EMO.

The inspector along with a local authority representative (e.g. public works foreman, councilor or reeve) will inspect each damaged site.  The inspector will:

  • determine if the site is damaged as a result of the eligible event,
  • estimate the type of repair, amount of material and equipment required to repair the site to pre-disaster conditions, and
  • ensure the site report is signed by both the inspector and municipal representative.

Any questions or concerns from the municipality regarding their site inspections are to be directed to EMO.

Emergency Repairs

  • EMO acknowledges that temporary and emergency repairs to maintain a safe community are required in the immediate aftermath of an event. 
  • It is the local authority’s responsibility to determine what repairs should be done to ensure safe use prior to an inspection.
  • Damage must be photographed prior to making any emergency repairs.  Later, during the scheduled EMO inspection, the inspector will review the photos and emergency repair work and will estimate the full repair.

Step 5 - Repair and Restoration

Once the inspection and site report are complete and approved, the local authority can proceed with restorations. Upgrades are not allowed.

Additional Damage or Equipment Time

  • Contact EMO immediately if the local authority finds that a site requires more work than previously noted during inspection or additional equipment time is needed.  Failure to notify EMO of any changes may result in that portion of the claim being denied.
  • It is the responsibility of the local authority to ensure they have received approval for work beyond that noted in the inspection report.

Step 6 - Claim Submission

The Local Authority will be requested to prepare and submit to EMO claim submissions(s) in accordance with DFA policies and guidelines. Best practice is to submit one or several completed sites per submission.

Upon receipt of a claim submission, EMO will:
  • evaluate the submission(s) in accordance with DFA policies and guidelines
  • issue payment and prepare a reconciliation statement identifying eligible, ineligible and deferred items
  • advise the Local Authority about deferred items and request additional supporting documentation to determine eligibility or ineligibility; and
  • supply a full reconciliation statement with the final payment identifying eligible and ineligible items

Claim Forms (Microsoft Excel 629 KB) - Updated November 2019

Claim Forms Procedures (PDF 466 KB) - Updated March 2015


If you have not received all the assistance to which you feel entitled, an appeal process is available.

Limitations (for events after January 1, 2020)

DFA payments for eligible expenses in the Public Sector are subject a deduction based on the Provincial/Municipal DFA cost sharing formula:

Expenditures Per Capita of the Municipal Population Provincial Share Municipal Share
$0.00 to $3.25 0% 100%
$3.26 to $9.76 50% 50%
$9.77 to $16.27 75% 25%
Over $16.27 100% 0%

The formula increases annually to align with the Consumer Price Index.

Use the new Public Sector Cost Sharing Calculator to determine the Municipal Share of Expenses.

Municipalities have the option of re-directing their municipal cost sharing portion to disaster mitigation and preparedness measures.

Limitations (for events prior to January 1, 2020)

DFA payments for eligible expenses in the Public Sector are subject a deduction based on the Provincial/Municipal DFA cost sharing formula:

Expenditures Per Capita of the Municipal Population Provincial Share Municipal Share
$0 to $1 0% 100%
$1 to $3 50% 50%
$3 to $5 75% 25%
Over $5 100% 0%

Use the Public Sector Cost Sharing Calculator to determine the Municipal Share of Expenses.

Additional Information

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