Workers assess downed power poles caused by post-tropical storm Fiona in Dartmouth, N.S., on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the creation of a $300-million fund to help with Atlantic Canada's recovery from post-tropical storm Fiona. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces $300-million Fiona relief fund

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday announced a $300-million fund to help the East Coast recover from post-tropical storm Fiona and rebuild to withstand future damage.

Speaking to reporters in Dartmouth, N.S., Trudeau said the fund will provide assistance over the next two years to help repair critical infrastructure damaged when the storm hit the region on Sept. 24, sweeping away homes, tearing off roofs and knocking out power grids.

The money will help communities and businesses in Atlantic Canada and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine rebuild, and the fund will also go toward cleaning up fishing gear, ensuring the safety of navigation and protecting marine wildlife, he said.

The goal, Trudeau said, is to distribute the money quickly through the local offices of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, which will work with other federal agencies. Civil servants, he added, won’t wait for “all receipts to be in” before disbursing funds.

“We need to get the money to families as quickly as possible, especially with winter coming,” the prime minister said.

“We’ve gotten much better at rolling out disaster assistance, whether its been the historic flooding we saw in British Columbia just recently, whether it was more and increasing wildfires, whether it was heat waves … we are seeing more intense, extreme weather events because of climate change.”

The money will also go toward homeowners whose residences are being rebuilt and to those who don’t have insurance to pay for the replacement of their dwellings, Trudeau said. “We will be there to help with people who are uninsured or underinsured for the kinds of damages they’ve gone through.”

In a news release, the federal government said that rebuilding efforts will ensure that infrastructure is better able to withstand future damage.