Change rules for tenants, farmers, disaster relief committee tells province

West Street in Goderich during the rebuild after the tornado. File photo.

West Street in Goderich during the rebuild after the tornado. File photo.

HEATHER BOA Bullet News GODERICH – The disaster relief committee set up in the aftermath of a tornado that ripped through Goderich and area on Aug. 21, 2011 is telling the provincial government it needs to provide better coverage to tenants and farmers as it prepares to close its books on $6.2 million of paid claims, its chair told Goderich council this week.

Allowing tenants who have lost their belongings in disaster to buy sheets but not pillow or beds but not mattresses are just a few of the “silly things” in the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP), said Duncan Jewell, who chairs the Goderich and Area Disaster Relief Committee.

“Tenants do not receive enough money,” Jewell said. The Goderich and area committee “worked the rules” to provide tenants with $500 each to buy clothing. “When you read the program, there are things missing that just make absolutely no sense whatsoever.”

The committee will recommend compensation for woodlots destroyed in disaster. More than 225 acres of woodlot in the Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh and the Municipality of Central Huron were destroyed in the tornado and ineligible for compensation under the program. The Goderich and area committee tailored the rules to provide $400 an acre.

“That’s grossly unfair when a residential person could get $2,500 for one stump to be removed from their property,” he said.

It will also recommend uninsured cash crops ruined by disaster also receive compensation, bringing it in line with policies for business owners.

“So a farmer who has a loss of income because it’s a cash crop can’t get covered but a businessman who has a loss of income can get covered when loss of income’s not supposed to be covered,” Jewell said.

The committee has reviewed 373 files to pay out $5 million with another $1.2 million committed by the end of summer, in order to pay eligible claimants 90 per cent of their claims. Jewell said a few files remain that may have a right to appeal.

ODRAP contributes up to $2 for every dollar raised locally, to an amount necessary to settle all eligible claims, up to 90 per cent of all eligible costs. A local fund-raising campaign led by Tom Jasper, Ken Dunn and Matt Hoy raised more than $4 million, and the province provided about $2.16 million to settle the claims.

“We won’t need the two-to-one funding for a variety of reasons. Mainly because people had good insurance in Goderich and area,” Jewell said, noting 27 per cent of potential claimants had sufficient insurance.

The province paid all administration costs.

Deputy Mayor John Grace thanked the committee for its contribution to the rebuild efforts.

“Congratulations, Duncan, to yourself and the rest of your committee. I think you’ve done an outstanding job for the community,” he said. “Thank-you on behalf of myself and my family.”

The committee completed a report as a charitable organization for the Canada Revenue Agency and a report with recommendations on any changes to ODRAP for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

The following is a report from the committee:

The Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP) is a program established by the Provincial Government following a disaster. Following the August 21, 2011 F3 tornado, volunteers were appointed by the three affected municipalities to the Goderich and Area Disaster Relief Committee to operate the program. ODRAP is a source of financial aid for costs or damages to essential private property incurred as a result of a disaster event and not covered by insurance. The purpose of the program is to restore, repair or replace homes/buildings to pre-disaster conditions using guidelines established by the Province of Ontario. It does not provide total replacement costs or the full cost of many expenses that have been incurred because of the tornado. Some losses are not covered at all, such as damages to a vacation property, which is not a primary residence, an insurance deductible, vehicles, personal injury damages, landscaping or the loss of income.

One of the responsibilities of the Goderich and Area Disaster Relief Committee was to raise funds from the community to assist the claimants. The Province of Ontario committed to contribute up to $2 for every dollar raised locally, to an amount necessary to settle all eligible claims, up to 90% of all eligible costs.

The Goderich and Area Disaster Relief Committee has now completed its review and adjudication of all files received by the application deadline of November 25, 2011.

The Disaster Relief Committee office at the Goderich Town Hall is permanently closed.

Statistical Information


Number of files received by the application deadline of November 25, 2011 373

Number of files approved for financial assistance: 236

Number of files closed because financial assistance was not required: 102

Number of files ineligible: 35

Expended and Committed Funds:

Claims paid as of February 15, 2013: $5,006,406.55

Funds committed to claimants but not paid as construction has not commenced: $1,202,788.58

Total funds required to pay all claims: $ 6,209,195.13


Total amount of money raised by local volunteer fundraisers: $ 4,017,602.32

Interest earned on deposits: $ 34,183.41

Total available from fundraising: $ 4,051,785.73

Contributions from the Province of Ontario:

Under the up to 2:1 matching formula, the Province is committed to contribute $2,157,409.40

Note: All money raised through fundraising is used exclusively to pay eligible claims as the Province of Ontario is responsible for all the administration costs associated with ODRAP.

Thank You!

The Goderich and Area Disaster Relief Committee expresses its sincere thanks to the thousands of people who donated to the Disaster Relief Fund, the many volunteers who assisted with fundraising, the staff of the Disaster Relief Committee for their service in helping to rebuild, renew and restore our communities, the administrative staff of the Town of Goderich for its support and the Province of Ontario for its financial and administrative support.

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