Yukon government botched 2013 flood relief program, documents show

Despite promising a flood financial program, the Yukon government has yet to make good on its promise—recently obtained documents reveal why

Insurance News

By Lyle Adriano

Documents recently obtained by Yukon News reveal how the Yukon government poorly handled its response to the flooding that hit the territory back in 2013.

The 2013 flooding affected 19 properties in Blind Creek, Rock Creek, and Ross River.

Following the flood, the affected properties were assessed for damages—the total was close to $900,000. With the region lacking access to overland flood insurance, the Yukon government started development on a flood program to offer financial assistance to homeowners affected by the flooding.

This promised program, however, never left the drawing board, and the affected residents have yet to receive any form of support from their government.

Documents obtained by Yukon News revealed that one of the reasons why the Yukon government’s program never took off was because it was unwilling to spend funds without the assurance that the federal government would reimburse it.

Some of the properties affected by the 2013 flood were previously damaged by an earlier flood in 2009—the damages were covered by the Yukon government through a program that provided grants of up to $25,000, and the expenses reimbursed by the federal government.

The federal reimbursement program, however, cannot pay out twice for the same home unless the property was substantially upgraded to withstanding flooding but still suffered from water damage anyway. Unfortunately, Yukon residents were not informed of such limitations, as the territory has no guidelines related to the stipulation.

Under the 2009 program, none of the affected properties underwent major upgrades, which essentially barred the Yukon government from receiving reimbursements for having them repaired in 2013. This bureaucratic impasse also affected homes that were flooded in 2013, but not back in 2009.

The Yukon government failed to relay all this information to those affected by the flooding.

In October 2013, there was talk of developing a fixed disaster relief program for the territory; notably, most other Canadian jurisdictions had their own. Nothing came out of the talks, however.

Yukon Housing Minister Stacey Hassard told Yukon News in April 2016 that the government would look at implementing a flood mitigation policy. When the news portal asked her again Friday, she declined to comment.

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