Saskatchewan’s Provincial Disaster Assistance Program is coming under fresh fire.
Just weeks after several First Nations criticized it, the Opposition NDP is following suit.
Severe flooding hit the province in 2011, but several First Nations say they still haven’t received assistance money to fix up houses and stop the spread of black mould.
The Opposition’s deputy leader, Trent Wotherspoon, is calling on the government to assure victims of this year’s spring thaw that they’ll receive their money in a timely fashion.
Yesterday in the legislature, he repeatedly questioned Government Relations Minister Jim Reiter, saying the government’s own numbers show that several hundred people are still waiting for money for floods in 2010 and 2011:
“In fact, in committee, his ministry shared that 1,783 claims are outstanding and not yet resolved over the past three years — over 1,783 claims. That was before this year’s flooding damage.”
Reiter says the province is doing its best, but it takes time to handle every claim:
“When there’s a disaster and the PDAP officials go out, after an engineering report is done, the person who suffered the damage has two options: they can either take the pay-out and close the claim quickly or they can wait until the work’s completed. In those instances, Mr. Speaker, there’s a 60% advance payment and the vast majority of the outstanding claims that member is talking about — there’s been advance payments made.”
He adds 98% of claims from 2010 are now complete and 85% of claims from 2011 have also been finalized.