Government of New Brunswick

Municipalities are responsible for emergency planning and response. However in the event that the situation requires a response greater than what the municipality can provide they have the option to declare a state of emergency. This state of emergency brings the resources of the province to the aid of the municipalities. In extreme or widespread circumstances it is the province who declares the state of emergency.

For unincorporated areas or Local Service Districts by agreement with NBEMO the Department provides Emergency Social Services without the declaration of a formal state of emergency as no municipal government is in place to make this determination.

Undeclared Emergencies

An Undeclared Emergency is a situation where no formal declaration has occurred and which forces occupants from their residence. This could range from a single family house fire to a larger situation to which a municipality is still able to provide the required emergency services. In an undeclared emergency, individuals may be referred to the Department for emergency benefits as provided within current policies and procedures.

For further information, please refer to the Emergency Benefits Job Aid and Guide.

In the case of Undeclared Emergencies, donations and financial support given to a client as a result of fundraising events is not considered as income or assets in order to determine eligibility for basic assistance and need not be entered in NB Case. These types of donations may or may not be considered to determine eligibility for special benefits depending on the severity of the situation.


An application for income assistance is required at the earliest opportunity.

If an individual is referred to the Department for emergency benefits, it must be determined if relatives, friends or community organizations can provide assistance or if the individuals themselves have personal resources (i.e. insurance coverage, bank accounts etc.). If so, these resources must be utilized prior to granting any assistance via regular SA benefits or a 4(4) application.

For those who are not eligible for basic assistance, emergency services may be granted for a total maximum period of up to eight (8) days, during which time the individual(s) must secure alternate accommodations. The emergency services may include accommodations, and/or a meal allowance of $7.00 per person per meal for restaurant meals, or $8.00 per person per day for groceries.

For housing repairs as a result of the Undeclared Emergency, individuals may be referred to the Housing Sector of the Department.

All assistance issued to those who are not eligible for basic assistance is provided under Section 4(4). If the applicant is determined to be eligible for basic assistance, services (including emergency services) would be provided to the household as a client.


The department should be the primary resource for our existing clients. Clients with no other available resources may be issued the following as special benefits:

Benefits provided must meet the immediate and temporary needs of the client through the emergency time period only. This is an emergency benefit, so it is important to assess the situation by making use of the Emergency Benefit Guide as this will assess the extent of the emergency and the client's eligibility for the benefit.

  • Determine the extent of the critical emergency
  • Assess the extent of the need and determine which specific benefit(s) are needed. More than one of these benefits may be provided depending on the severity of the emergency.
    - to replace basic items such as food, household furnishings, and to provide accommodations, refer to the policies for Emergency Food, Emergency Rent and Household Furnishings.
    - a client may be eligible for an amount equal to one month's basic assistance up to the amount of the unit's Basic Unit Rate.
    - Donations available from other resources may or may not affect the amount of Special Benefits issued to clients depending on the severity of the situation. (ex. donations received from family, friends or community organizations).
    - to replace household items (household setup) such as: dishes, household linens, appliances (fridge, stove, washer) etc. A client may be eligible up to a maximum of $2000.00 in accordance with the Household Setup Policy
    - for housing repairs as a result of the emergency, individuals must be referred to the Housing Sector of the Department
Declared Emergencies

A Declared Emergency is a situation that is declared such by the Minister of Public Safety or by a local municipality. The responsibility of the Department in a declared emergency is to provide Emergency Social Services (ESS). The extent of the response is determined by the Department. These services are food, clothing, lodging, personal social services, registration and enquiry. Each region has an ESS coordinator, and every permanent employeee has assigned responsibilities in connection with the emergency plan for their region, and should have a copy of the fan-out chart.

In most declared emergencies, the response needed from SD will be initiatied departmental staff on the Provincial Action Committee or by contact with the Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) and will be according to the emergency plan for their region.

In a declared emergency, there is no difference in how we respond to our clients vs. non-clients. The level of support and amount of benefits issued will be determined by ESS personnel taking into consideration the requirements of the individual affected, the nature of the emergency, the availability of other resources and guidance from government.

The manner in whcih the benefits are actually paid is usually only decided once the emergency has been dealt with.

Emergencies in Unincorporated Areas

Departmental response to an Emergency in an unincorporated area is the same as it is to a Declared Emergency.