Government and the Canadian Red Cross supporting small businesses impacted by wildfires

Small businesses can immediately access emergency financial support in areas that have been impacted by the B.C. wildfires, Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson announced today.

Delivered through the Canadian Red Cross, a $1,500 emergency grant is available to eligible small businesses, First Nations whose livelihood is based on cultural practices, and not-for-profit organizations that are located in areas that have been under evacuation order or alert. Eligibility has also been extended to areas directly impacted by closures along:

  • Highway 20;
  • Highway 97, south of Prince George to areas covered by evacuation alerts;
  • Highway 26 to Barkerville; and,
  • eastern Cariboo Regional District communities of Horsefly and Likely.

The Province continues to review areas directly and significantly impacted by closures and will make adjustments to the eligibility as required but does not want to delay support to these affected communities while that review is undertaken.

“This is an unprecedented wildfire season that has been very challenging for all those involved, including small businesses in the impacted areas,” Donaldson said. “Coming from a rural area and as minister responsible for rural development, I know the important role small businesses play in rural communities. As a government, we’ll ensure we have the necessary programs in place to support recovery.”

Eligible businesses, organizations and First Nations members include:

  • Small businesses (including sole proprietors, partnerships, franchises)
  • Not-for-profit organizations
  • First Nations businesses and cultural livelihood on reserve

“We know that hundreds of small businesses in rural B.C. have been adversely impacted by wildfire activity and this initial support is designed to give these businesses some assistance as they resume operations again,” said Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister  Bruce Ralston. “Small businesses are the economic life blood of many of the communities hardest hit by wildfires and we want to help mitigate any economic impacts.”

Applicants must have:

  •  50 employees or less,
  • been in operation on or before July 7, 2017,
  • been financially impacted as a result of the 2017 B.C. wildfires,
  • a net income of less than $250,000 per year,
  •  resumed or are intending to resume operations as soon as possible.

“The Canadian Red Cross is committed to helping people recover from this summer’s B.C. fires. We know that small businesses and community organizations are integral to that recovery. We thank the Government of British Columbia for supporting this important assistance as part of its $100-million fund announced earlier this summer,” said Kimberley Nemrava, vice-president, British Columbia and Yukon, Canadian Red Cross.

The Red Cross has established a Helpline to provide additional support and assist with the application process. Funding will be provided from the $100-million that was announced earlier this summer to provide assistance to the thousands of British Columbians impacted by the fires burning in the province.

Learn More:

Red Cross Support for Small Business Helpline: The Helpline can be reached at 1-855-999-3345 from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time, Monday to Friday.

To apply online please visit: https://marsh.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eWKxmlubG4HOeQB

Red Cross B.C. wildfires support for small businesses: http://www.redcross.ca/bcfires/smallbusiness

Keep up-to-date on the provincial wildfire situation, including information on evacuation and alerts and orders: www.bcwildfire.ca

For information on small business emergency preparedness: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/small-business-preparedness