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ACOA minister offers hints, limited answers on how $300 million Fiona relief will be spent

Ginette Petitpas Taylor, who Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tasked with overseeing $300 million in help funding for storm-affected Atlantic Canadians, says the Fiona aid funding will help small and medium-sized companies that don’t qualify for current federal help.

However 10 days after Trudeau introduced the fund could be administered by the Atlantic Canadian Alternatives Company (ACOA), for which Petitpas Taylor is the Minister, particulars about who can rely on this funding are nonetheless scant.

Throughout a funding announcement for the potato sector in Rollo Bay, P.E.I. on Oct. 14, Petitpas Taylor stated additional particulars could be introduced within the “very, very close to future.”

In an interview with SaltWire Community, Petitpas Taylor stated a portion of the $300 million will very doubtless help small craft harbours all through the area.

Kathy Brown and Barb Doiron assess the damage in Stanley Bridge on Sept. 25 following post-tropical storm Fiona. Doiron, who owns Bay View Antiques, said the storm was the worst she's ever seen. - Nathan Rochford/Special to SaltWire Network
Kathy Brown and Barb Doiron assess the harm in Stanley Bridge on Sept. 25 following post-tropical storm Fiona. Doiron, who owns Bay View Antiques, stated the storm was the worst she’s ever seen. – Nathan Rochford/Particular to SaltWire Community

The Division of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has estimated that, of the 180 small craft harbours managed by that division in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, 99 have been rendered partially operational as a consequence of post-tropical storm Fiona. 5 have been unusable and 20 wanted extra evaluation as of Sept. 28.

Petitpas Taylor stated she visited a small craft harbour on P.E.I. the day before today.

“The fisherman that I used to be chatting with on the wharf – Rick – indicated they’re not going to have the ability to operate,” she stated.

“Investments in that space might be one thing you are going to be seeing very quickly.”

Petitpas Taylor stated there may very well be some farmers who want help that won’t be coated by the federal-provincial Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements program (DFAA) or by AgriStability.

However Petitpas Taylor additionally harassed that the $300 million in new federal Fiona help won’t duplicate help already out there, together with the DFAA program.

In P.E.I., the DFAA program is at present being administered by the Purple Cross. This system is supposed to supply help to Islanders, comparable to owners, companies and tenants, who’ve been coping with storm-related property harm not coated by insurance coverage.

Petitpas Taylor was clear, nonetheless, that cottage homeowners with uninsured harm mustn’t anticipate aid from the $300 million ACOA fund.

Many cottages in the Savage Harbour, P.E.I. area were damaged by a tidal surge and hurricane-force winds during post-tropical storm Fiona. - Brian McInnis/Special to SaltWire Network
Many cottages within the Savage Harbour, P.E.I. space have been broken by a tidal surge and hurricane-force winds throughout post-tropical storm Fiona. – Brian McInnis/Particular to SaltWire Community

Help for harm to secondary properties, comparable to coastal cottages, should not coated underneath the DFAA.

“With respect to secondary properties we have made it very clear that this fund in query is admittedly to guarantee that we’re there to supply the help. We’re not there to duplicate current applications,” Petitpas Taylor stated.

“This fund is admittedly to ensure by means of ACOA, that we’re right here to have the ability to assist, as I indicated, small-medium-sized enterprise that maybe do not qualify for particular applications. These criterias are going to be established.”

Petitpas Taylor responds to Premier

On the day the $300 million fund was introduced, Premier King referred to as the initiative a “good begin” however stated extra funding could be wanted from the federal authorities for the province’s restoration effort.

When requested about King’s remarks and whether or not extra funding could be forthcoming, Petitpas Taylor stated the present DFAA program was “precisely simply that.”

“It is a fund that the federal authorities will pay as much as 90 per cent of the fee,” Petitpas Taylor stated.

“So, once more, this fund is just not being put in place to create any duplication.”

Following post-tropical storm Dorian in 2019, the Catastrophe Monetary Help Association paid out roughly $3 million in P.E.I. About $1.3 million of that was paid out for damages induced in coastal areas that weren’t coated by insurance coverage.

Petitpas Taylor additionally introduced $4.2 million in monetary help for P.E.I.’s potato sector on Oct. 14. The funding shall be distributed nearly completely within the type of repayable loans to improve tools for 9 Island potato companies.

A potato truck in Eastern P.E.I. - Stu Neatby
A potato truck in Japanese P.E.I. – Stu Neatby

Incorporate local weather threat

Sooner or later earlier than Petitpas Taylor’s go to, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau toured P.E.I. In an interview on Oct. 12, she additionally confirmed the $300 million would doubtless present assist to some farmers hit laborious by Fiona.

She additionally stated her division hopes to streamline and simplify the appliance applications for current federal assist.

However Bibeau additionally acknowledged the climate occasion could also be an indication that current farming threat administration applications want to include climatic occasions.

Agristability does present farmers with help in unhealthy years primarily based on a five-year reference margin. However since 2018, P.E.I. farmers have handled two droughts, two post-tropical storms – Dorian and Fiona – one moist harvesting season, and a bruising border dispute with the U.S. involving potato wart.

Marie-Claude Bibeau, second from left, visits an orchard affected by post-tropical storm Fiona. Bibeau was accompanied by P.E.I. Minister of Agriculture Darlene Compton, second from right, and Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey, right. - Contributed
Marie-Claude Bibeau, second from left, visits an orchard affected by post-tropical storm Fiona. Bibeau was accompanied by P.E.I. Minister of Agriculture Darlene Compton, second from proper, and Egmont MP Bobby Morrissey, proper. – Contributed

Bibeau acknowledged that provincial agriculture ministers have raised the growing damages sustained by farmers by local weather change-related occasions.

“I have been on this place for 3 and a half years. And we’re going from one catastrophe to a different. And we’re making an attempt with my colleagues from the provinces, making an attempt to enhance the enterprise threat administration applications,” Bibeau stated, referencing final 12 months’s floods in B.C.

“It’s apparent now that it is occurring extra typically and that farmers are on the frontline.”

Bibeau did say what particular long-term change to enterprise threat administration applications are being thought-about.

The P.E.I. authorities and Federal governments are permitting farmers to entry a larger proportion of their interim AgriStability funds earlier within the wake of this fall’s storm.

Stu Neatby is a political reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. He will be reached by e mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @stu_neatby.

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