Touring tornado aftermath

Canada's public safety minister says the federal government is playing a supporting role to provinces and municipalities as they help parts of the national capital region smashed by tornadoes last week.

Ralph Goodale is touring the Ontario community of Dunrobin, west of Ottawa, where locals are still reeling after a powerful tornado ripped through the town on Friday.

Tornadoes swept across the Ottawa area and the Quebec city of Gatineau — levelling homes and knocking out power grids along their way.

Goodale says he is struck by the severity of the damage in Dunrobin.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers have been in tornado-ravaged areas to ease pressure on local forces, Goodale says, and there was an informal request for federal help with surveillance and mapping of impacted areas.

Goodale says the federal government has not provided financial assistance because the first portion of response and recovery costs are covered by the provinces, but Ottawa will step up if the price tag reaches a certain level.

Federal assistance after large-scale natural disasters is determined by a formula under Canada's so-called Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements.

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