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2. General applicant information

2.1 Essential property: definition

Essential property refers to:

  • a primary home where the applicant lives on a day-to-day basis and its basic contents
  • or, the main premises and key equipment and inventory of an eligible small business, farm, or not-for-profit organization

The program does not provide assistance for non-essential property. Items such as vehicles, landscaping, driveways, fences, jewellery, antiques, collectibles, art and most electronics are not eligible under the program. Assistance is limited to a primary residence where an applicant lives on a day-to-day basis. Secondary residences such as cottages are not eligible.

2.2 Receiving payment from multiple sources

You cannot receive payment for the same item twice. This program does not pay for costs that can or will be paid for from other sources. Any assistance or payments you have already received (e.g., from your insurer, or an emergency aid organization) must be disclosed on your application form. Contributions from other sources for items being applied for under Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians will be subtracted from your eligible application amount.

If you have initiated, or if you plan to initiate, civil litigation to recover losses related to the disaster, assistance may be withheld pending the outcome of the legal proceedings. You may also be required to refund any assistance you receive up to the amount you recovered as a result of the legal proceedings. If you fail to disclose this litigation-related information to the ministry, your application for assistance may be denied, and the ministry may require the repayment of any assistance you have received.

2.3 Limits on assistance under Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarian

Many emergency expenses, household appliances and furnishings are subject to caps on the eligible amount of assistance. In the case of emergency expenses, caps are based on essential costs. In the case of household appliances and furnishings, caps reflect pricing of a basic, or standard, model. Caps are updated regularly to reflect current prices. Current information about emergency expenses and essential property that are subject to eligibility caps is available on the program website.

Under the program, a $500 deductible is applied to your application, unless you qualify to have the deductible waived under the special provision for low-income households described in Section 2.5.

Your application will be paid at 90% of the eligible amount after the deductible has been applied.

The maximum payment per application is $250,000.

Example of application assistance calculation

An applicant’s home is seriously damaged in a tornado. The applicant is not able to receive reimbursement through insurance, because the insurance policy does not cover damage from tornadoes. The applicant submits total costs for emergency expenses and property repairs of $289,000. The adjuster determines that $266,000 of this amount is eligible under the program.

The payment the applicant will receive is calculated as follows:

  • eligible application amount as determined by the adjuster: $266,000
  • final eligible amount after $500 deductible: $265,500
  • application paid at 90% of the final eligible amount: $238,950

The applicant will receive a payment of $238,950 under the program.

2.4 How Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians works with insurance

Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians is not a replacement for insurance. You must submit an application to your insurer before submitting an application to the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians program. Any costs that your insurance provider will cover, or has covered, must be stated in your application to Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians. You must provide a letter from your insurer detailing the coverage under your policy as part of your application. The letter must detail the type and cause of damage or loss, the amount that was covered under insurance, and the reason any portion of the damage or loss was not covered.

Costs relating to uninsured essential property that is damaged may be applied for where insurance coverage is only available for a portion of the value of the lost property. Available insurance coverage must be used first to cover eligible damage, with any remaining uninsured damage being eligible for assistance under Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians. Insurance deductibles are not eligible.

Example of partially insured property application calculation

The applicant’s costs for emergency expenses and replacement of damaged essential property amount to $10,000. The adjuster subtracts the $8,000 payment the applicant received from her insurer and the $600 deductible under her policy to determine that the applicant’s eligible amount under Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians is $1,400.

The payment the applicant will receive is calculated as follows:

  • eligible application amount as determined by the adjuster: $1,400
  • final eligible amount after $500 deductible: $900
  • application paid at 90% of the final eligible amount: $810

The applicant will receive a payment of $810 under the program.

2.5 Special provisions for low-income households

The program includes two special provisions for low-income households:

  • low-income households can apply to have the $500 deductible waived
  • low-income households can apply for assistance for damage caused by sewer backup, which is not otherwise eligible under the program

Applicants whose household income falls below the program’s low-income thresholds are eligible under these provisions. The program’s low-income thresholds are established each year based on 50% of median after-tax household income, adjusted for the number of people living in the household, as reported by Statistics Canada. For the program’s current low-income thresholds, visit the program website.

Please see Section 3.2 for documentation required to apply under these special provisions.

2.6 General information about eligible expenses

Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians provides assistance for emergency expenses and costs to repair or replace essential property. Eligible expenses are separated into three main categories:

  • emergency evacuation/ relocation and living expenses
  • emergency measures, cleanup, disinfection and disposal expenses
  • repair and replacement expenses

2.6.1 Emergency evacuation/ relocation expenses

You may be eligible to receive assistance for costs related to evacuation or relocation (such as food, rental fees, or vehicle fuel) if you have to seek temporary accommodation because your neighbourhood has been evacuated or your home has been damaged to the point where it is unsafe to stay there. You may also be eligible to receive assistance for eligible costs in this category if you have to rent emergency storage space for your property.

2.6.2 Emergency measures, cleanup, disinfection and disposal expenses

You may be eligible to receive assistance for services to help with emergency measures, cleanup, disinfection and disposal of your affected property. If you are applying for work done by you or other members of your household, you may receive reimbursement at the Ontario minimum hourly wage, up to a maximum of 40 person hours. The program is not able to provide assistance for your lost wages or income. The hours applied for must be reasonable for the work completed.

2.6.3 Repair and replacement expenses

You can apply for costs to repair or replace essential structures and property that is not covered by insurance.

Note: Only costs to repair/ replace property to a basic level are eligible. Some eligible items receive coverage to a maximum allowable amount. Current information about essential property that is subject to an eligibility cap is available on the program website.

2.7 Reconsideration process

You may request a reconsideration of the ministry’s decision regarding your eligibility for the program or the payment amount of your application.

If you wish to request reconsideration, you must submit a Request for Reconsideration under Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians within 45 days of the date of the letter informing you of the decision on your application.

The form and instructions for requesting reconsideration of the decision on your application are available on the program website.

Updated: May 03, 2022
Published: October 26, 2018