2023 spring flooding: how to apply for compensation

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Tashi Farmilo & William Dale

MRC PONTIAC – After another spring flooding, Julien Gagnon, public safety and emergency and civil security coordinator at the MRC Pontiac summarized, “At present, we estimate around 350 homes have been impacted.” adding that Mansfield, especially

Davidson, bore the brunt of the flooding, with many homes and cottages suffering damage.

One of the challenges faced this year was that Lake Coulonge, which acts as a reservoir intended to impede the natural flow of water, rose rapidly; experts with the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board have proposed building another reservoir in the northern region. A resolution was also recently passed by the MRC mayors asking for a comprehensive analysis of the river’s flow, especially from Lake Coulonge to the Bryson and Chenaux dams, among other things.

Brian Duval, one of the affected residents, expressed frustration and demanded accountability, arguing the severity of the current flood surpassed previous years. He called for robust measures to prevent future flooding, particularly in light of the financial losses families endure, compounded by soaring inflation.

Mona Paquette Wilson, another affected resident, echoed Duval’s sentiments, expressing disbelief at the recurrence of evacuations and stressing the urgent need for action.

Jim Myres, who has endured multiple floods, asserted that concrete action must be taken, proposing a time-limited study, involving federal and provincial representatives, which would produce binding recommendations. He underscored the importance of proactive collaboration between jurisdictions, not only to ensure the safety and well-being of residents but also to safeguard property values.

Info sessions for flood victims

On May 23, information sessions were conducted in both French and English at École secondaire Sieur-de-Coulonge in Mansfield by Quebec’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS). During the sessions, participants had their concerns addressed, and received clarification on aspects related to the recovery process, including claiming financial assistance. This was followed, on May 24th with in-person appointments to start the application process.

The steps to make a claim are:

1. Contact your municipality to inform them about the flooding and its impact on your property.

2. Contact your insurance company and initiate a claim; request a written response regarding acceptance or refusal.

In the event your flood protection is inadequate or non-existent, you may be eligible for financial assistance and compensation from the government of Quebec.

3. Take detailed photos or videos of all damages as these will play a vital role in determining the amount of financial assistance and compensation you’re entitled to receive.

4. For health and safety reasons, it’s important to commence cleanup and demolition work as soon as you’ve assessed the situation. Prompt action will help mitigate further damage and ensure a faster return to normalcy.

5. Retain all receipts and proof of purchase for any damaged belongings. These documents will serve as evidence for your insurance claim and financial assistance application.

6. Contact your municipality to understand applicable regulations and determine if any permits are required before starting renovating or rebuilding.

For more information:

Société d’habitation du Québec: Call 1-800-463-4315 or www.habitation.gouv.qc.ca/inondations (French only).

Régie du bâtiment du Québec: Call 1-800-361-0761 or www.rbq.gouv.qc.ca/inondations (French only).
Corporation des maîtres mécaniciens en tuyauterie du Québec: Visit cmmtq.org (French only).

To apply for financial assistance and compensation, visit Québec.ca/aide-inondation (English) for detailed information on eligibilty conditions and covered expenses. Applying online is recommended for faster processing.

Ministère de la Sécurité publique by phone at 418-643-AIDE (2433) or toll-free at 1-888-643-AIDE (2433) to open your claim. If you choose to open the claim by phone, it is advisable to send the required documents via email to aide.financiere@msp.gouv.qc.ca.

Refer to the Québec.ca/aide-inondation page (English) for deadline details. If you are unable to meet the deadline, provide a written explanation to the Ministère de la Sécurité publique explaining the circumstances
preventing you from acting sooner.