Queen’s Park – During Question Period today Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called on the Premier for information on what the situation in Thunder Bay.
ASSISTANCE TO FLOOD VICTIMS
Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is to the Premier. For over a week, the people of Thunder Bay have seen the worst of nature and the best of their neighbours. Record rainfall caused extensive flooding damage to private property and to public infrastructure. The people of Thunder Bay have pulled together to make the best out of a very bad situation, but they need a helping hand immediately from the province.
There’s no question that Thunder Bay is a disaster area. When can city officials expect money to begin flowing to Thunder Bay from the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program?
Hon. Dalton McGuinty: I want to take the opportunity—and I’m grateful that my honourable colleague has raised this matter—to commend the people of Thunder Bay and the surrounding communities who have worked so hard and pulled so well together at a time of great challenge.
I took the opportunity to speak with the mayor of Thunder Bay a few days ago to encourage him and his council to apply for—I think they call it ODRAP—the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program. The council must pass a resolution in order to qualify for that.
We are, at this point in time, working with the community. The mayor placed a great deal of emphasis on a particular water treatment plant that represents a real challenge for them financially. I can say that we will continue to work hand in hand with the community to ensure that they get the support that they need.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?
Ms. Andrea Horwath: Last week I wrote to the Premier’s office calling for quick relief for flood-damaged Thunder Bay. City officials, first responders, utility crews and workers at the Atlantic Street pumping station have done an amazing job keeping people safe during the crisis.
The Red Cross, the Salvation Army, community groups and business associations are doing their part on the ground in that community. Neighbours are helping neighbours. When will the government step in with funding from the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program so that the people of Thunder Bay can get back to rebuilding their community?
Hon. Dalton McGuinty: To the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I just want to say that, as the Premier said, we are very much working with the people of Thunder Bay and the local members are working with the community. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is working with Emergency Management Ontario. Their assessment is going on. That’s what needs to happen before the applications to the ODRAP fund can take place.
There’s actually nothing to prevent the city of Thunder Bay from taking action immediately, which I know that they are doing. But the assessments have to go on in order for the ODRAP fund to kick in. That’s the process and what I am making sure—and I speak with my officials regularly on this. Our people are on the ground, Emergency Management Ontario is on the ground. Those assessments are going on so that those applications can be made once the council has taken their action.