BC Government News Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology Emergency Management BC

Small businesses getting crucial support they need during wildfire season

Small businesses getting crucial support they need during wildfire season

Hundreds of small businesses, First Nations and non-profit organizations are applying for the Canadian Red Cross small business emergency financial grant that was announced by the Province.

The British Columbia government is providing these $1,500 grants to help businesses resume operations during a difficult wildfire season. A total of 600 applications were received within the first 24 hours of the application process opening. As of Aug. 21, 2017, the Canadian Red Cross had received 1,289 applications for the grant.

Eligible businesses include:

small businesses;

First Nations whose livelihood is based on cultural practices; and

non-profit organizations located in areas that have been under evacuation order or alert.

The Red Cross and the Province have extended the emergency grant to areas along Highway 20, Highway 97 south of Prince George to areas covered by evacuation alerts, Highway 26 to Barkerville and eastern Cariboo Regional District. Applicants have until Oct. 31, 2017, to apply.

The Canadian Red Cross has set up a small business helpline to help businesses find out whether they meet criteria for funding and to help them apply for the grant. Businesses can also apply online: http://www.redcross.ca/

Additionally, the B.C. Economic Development Association and Fortis B.C.'s Small Business Hotline has received 319 calls, as of Aug. 18, 2017, from small businesses throughout the province. This hotline offers assistance, information and receives feedback from small businesses affected by wildfires.

These grants are being provided through the $100 million provided by the Province and administered by the Red Cross for wildfire relief for British Columbians.

"This has been an unprecedented wildfire season in B.C. and we want to ensure that businesses have the supports they need to rebuild. We've also struck a Wildfire Cabinet Task Force and are working closely with the federal government to ensure we have the necessary supports in place to help all those who have been impacted."- Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development

To learn more, contact Red Cross Support for Small Business Helpline: 1 855 999-3345 from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. To apply online, visit:
https://marsh.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eWKxmlubG4HOeQB or Red Cross B.C. wildfires support for small businesses: http://www.redcross.ca/bcfires/smallbusiness. Also British Columbia Economic Development Association and Fortis BC Small Business Hotline can be reached at 1 877 4BC-EDRP (1 877 422-3377)