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Flood victims want to use RRSPs to pay for disaster damages

A petition wants to allow disaster victims to withdraw funds from their RRSPs, without penalty, to help pay for damages after a flood or other disaster.
2017-05-17 gatineau flood rue versailles
Flooding on rue Versailles in Gatineau on May 17, 2017. (Jason White/1310 NEWS)

Some of the people whose homes were damaged in last year's Ottawa River floods want the government to let them use their RRSPs to help pay for the costs of repairing and rebuilding their homes.

An online petition lays out an idea similar to the first-time home buyers plan; victims of floods and other natural disasters would be allowed to withdraw money from their RRSPs without penalty. The money would then be repaid over the following 15 to 20 years.

There has been government assistance for the victims of the Ottawa River floods, but Ontario only covers 90 per cent of some costs, and there are various caps on payouts -- leaving flood victims to come up with the rest of the money on their own.

The petition's description also points out that government assistance can take some time to be paid out, during which time homeowners need to free up funds to pay the contractors fixing their homes.

The petition is being sponsored by Gatineau MP Steven MacKinnon. As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, it has collected more than 600 signatures -- most from Ontario and Quebec.

Click here to view the petition, which is collecting signatures until early June.

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