Quebec boosts compensation for flood victims

The Liberal government has increased the amount of money Quebecers can receive in compensation for damage to their flooded homes to a maximum of $200,000. Impacted residents can also claim appliances and other items damaged by water.

Residents impacted by flooding can also claim appliances, items damaged by water

David Samuelson throws debris from his flooded house onto a pile on his driveway in Pierrefonds. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

The Liberal government has increased the amount of money Quebecers can receive in compensation for damage to their flooded homes to a maximum of $200,000.

Premier Philippe Couillard announced the bump of a little more than $40,000 from the original maximum of $159,208 on Wednesday. Under the new rules, all owners or tenants of homes affected by the spring flooding in April and May are eligible for compensation.

That amount doesn't include money for movable objects, living expenses and measures undertaken by residents to protect their homes, all of which are subject to different maximums.

There is also additional funding that flood victims can claim for specific items, such as appliances and clothing. Among the new rules, residents are also entitled to financial reimbursement for costs related to food and clothes.

Couillard said that the government wants to help residents rebuild after "exceptional" flooding, saying it seemed necessary to readjust the compensation program to meet the needs of flood victims.

The province also announced that there is more money available for businesses affected by flooding, with the maximum allowed for damages increasing from $212,000 to $265,000.

The extra funding is expected to cost the province an additional $350 million. So far, the government has handed out more than $3.6 million.

The Liberals have been promising to revise their flood compensation program over the last few days as the waters recede and people start returning to their homes to take stock of the damage.

As of Wednesday, about 100 municipalities across the province were still affected by flooding, with 3,500 people forced out of their homes.

Residents are now tasked with cleaning up after flooding. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux said that the government plans to make sure no flood victim is left behind. He also commended the efforts of neighbours, emergency crews, Canadian Forces and local authorities to help residents.

"If there was something that we saw all over Quebec, in affected areas, over the last few weeks it was gestures of solidarity," said Coiteux.

'I'm not sure this amount is enough'

While some Quebecers are starting to clean up as floodwaters recede, one resident says that the government's increase doesn't go far enough for homeowners.

Tauseef Bhatti's home on Île Bizard, where he lives with his wife and four children, is likely a total loss. The high water levels reached his blue bungalow's ground floor, and his foundation is crumbling.

Tauseef Bhatti and his wife look at the damage done to their home. (CBC)

"It looks like it has to be demolished and rebuilt again."

He's not sure he can afford the repairs, even with additional financial aid from Quebec.

"It's very expensive," he said. "I'm not an expert, I'm not a builder. But with that kind of foundation and to rebuild the whole house, I'm not sure this amount is enough."

More information sessions coming up

The province is also urging those who want to make a claim to attend one of their information sessions, in areas hardest hit by flooding. Government representatives are on hand to help fill out forms and answer questions.

Upcoming sessions include:

  • Oka: 7:30 p.m. at 183 des Anges Street on May 18.
  • Ahuntsic-Cartierville: 10 a.m. at the YMCA on 11885 Laurentien Boulevard on May 20.
  • Terrasse-Vaudreuil: 7:30 p.m. at the Salle communautaire, 78 7th Avenue on May 25.

Flood victims who need financial assistance or have questions about the forms but who can't attend information sessions can call the province at 1-888-643-2433.

More than 700 people have applied so far for financial aid.

With files from Stephen Rukavina, Jaela Bernstien and Radio-Canada