May 25th - Storm Event and Claims Info (FAQ)
On Saturday, May 21, 2022, the City of Ottawa was seriously impacted by a powerful derecho storm, which caused significant property damage, power outages, and service disruptions throughout the City. Many residents are struggling with ongoing power outages and dealing with damage to their property caused by falling trees, extreme wind, and flooding in the wake of this storm.
This information sheet is meant to assist you in understanding some of your options.
Q: I had a fridge and freezer full of food that was spoiled as a result of the storm. How can I receive compensation?
A: Residents should contact their home insurer to see if they can assist in this regard.
If you need urgent support, you can apply for financial assistance through the Province for money for food replacement. In exceptional circumstances, there may also be help available with mediation, medical supplies, and/or personal care.
How do I apply?
Applications for emergency assistance are completed online or over the phone. To apply:
Or call 3-1-1, select 1 for English and 4 for Social Services; City staff will take an application and do an assessment to see if you qualify.
If you are already in receipt of Ontario Works please call your caseworker directly
The City is not the same as an insurer of residents. It will only pay a claim if damages were caused by a negligent act or omission on the part of the City. While unfortunate, the City is not legally responsible for the region’s power outages and the City will not provide compensation for spoiled food resulting from the power outages.
Q; My private property has been damaged in the storm. What is my recourse?
A: If the storm event has caused damage to your private property, such as your home or your vehicle, the first step is to contact your insurance broker or your insurance company directly. In addition to potentially providing coverage for your loss, your insurer may be able to provide advice and assistance in dealing with your immediate needs, for example they may be able to assist in timely flood remediation, tree removal, roof repair, or by providing a replacement vehicle while yours is being repaired. The City does not assess or arrange for repairs of private property damaged as a result of the storm.
If your storm-related damages are covered by your insurer, and your insurer has reason to believe that a negligent act or omission on the part of the City caused or contributed to the damages, your insurer may choose to bring a subrogated claim against the City seeking compensation for the loss. If such an action is commenced, your insurer may include a claim for your deductible on your behalf.
Q: What can I expect if I submit my own claim for storm related damages to the City?
A: The City of Ottawa is not the same as an insurer. It does not provide compensation for all storm-related damage to private property or vehicles unless the City is legally liable for that damage.
If a claim for compensation for storm-related damage is submitted to the City an investigation will be commenced. The City will not pay a claim unless it is determined that the damage was caused or contributed to by a negligent act or omission on the part of the City.
If the investigation determines that the City is legally responsible for the loss, any payment made by the City will be based on the actual cash value of the property, taking depreciation into account. In contrast, your insurance policy may provide a better basis of settlement, such as replacement cost, which does not deduct for depreciation.
Q: What if it was a city-owned tree that caused damage to my private property?
A: If a city-owned tree is damaged or has caused damage due to a storm event, it is important to report it to the City via 311 and to not touch the tree. The City will arrange for the clean-up and/or removal of any damaged city-owned trees. Situations where the tree is blocking the roadway is leaning/uprooted or is on a house or car are considered urgent. Residents should not engage with private arborists for clean-up and/or removal of city-owned trees, as the City will assess and undertake this work. Forestry staff can also assess to determine ownership (private/city) of the tree. Residents and/or their insurers can proceed with repairs to private property without an assessment by the City. If a city-owned tree needs to be removed in advance of this work, Forestry Services is prioritizing those requests.
The City is not automatically liable for damages caused by the failure of a city-owned tree. If a claim is made for compensation for storm-related damages caused by a city-owned tree, the City will commence an investigation.
In its investigation, the City will consider whether the tree in question was otherwise healthy and, if not, whether the City’s inspection and maintenance of the tree was reasonable in all of the circumstances.
Unless the storm-related failure of the tree was caused or contributed to by a negligent act or omission on the part of the City, the City will not provide compensation for any resulting damages.
Q: How do I make a claim against the City?
A: You must contact the City’s Claims Unit directly. There are several ways to submit a claim. It is recommended that you use the online claim Webform for ease of submission and to ensure that the Claims Unit receives all information that is required to review your claim. This web form can be found at ottawa.ca/claims.
Alternatively, you can also submit a claim by email, fax or regular mail/courier. If you are submitting via one of these channels, be sure to include all the following details, which are required to properly open and assess the claim:
Your full name, home address, phone number and e-mail address
A detailed description of what happened that caused the property damage, including date, time and location
A description of why you believe the City is responsible for your damages/property loss
Contact information for any witnesses, City staff and/or other parties with information that could help the City understand what happened
Any supporting documentation, including photos, estimates, receipts, etc.
Correspondence may be submitted as follows:
By Webform: Claim Submission Web Form
By mail: City of Ottawa Legal Services, Claims Unit 110 Laurier Avenue West, 3rd floor Ottawa ON K1P 1J1
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By fax: 613-580-2667
Phone: 613-580-2655 (Note: Even if the Claims Unit is first contacted by phone, the client must submit their claim in writing)