Financial assistance for small businesses affected by wildfires in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo will be available starting this September.
Small businesses recovering from the Fort McMurray wildfire will have access to two complementary recovery programs as they resume operations and support their employees. The first program – funded by the governments of Alberta, Canada and the Canadian Red Cross – will provide up to $20,000 to cover costs, including new equipment, property damage and cleanup. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has also allocated funding to support a second program to provide small businesses with wages and labour assistance.
“In the face of one of our country’s worst natural disasters, Fort McMurray businesses are showing incredible resilience and taking the lead in rebuilding their city. The Canadian Red Cross, Mayor Blake and I met with small business leaders here. They told us this is the kind of support that will help them get them back on their feet – we listened and we worked together to make it happen.”
Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade
“The Government of Canada remains fully committed to supporting the local business community of Fort McMurray. This program is a prime example of how we are continuing to work alongside our partners to ensure small- and medium-sized businesses have access to the resources they need during this period of recovery and rebuilding.”
Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
“On behalf of the municipality, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Government of Alberta, the federal government, the Canadian Red Cross and the millions of supporters who donated and made these programs possible. This funding will allow the municipality to address head-on our business owners’ needs and help our community continue to move forward rebuilding together.”
Melissa Blake, Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
These supports reflect feedback the business community in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo provided to all levels of government and the Canadian Red Cross.
“Small businesses are part of the community fabric that is essential for the full recovery of people affected by a disaster. Thanks to the generosity of Canadians and support from government, small business owners, sole proprietors and tradespeople affected by the Alberta fires will get the help they need.”
Jenn McManus, Vice President of the Canadian Red Cross, Alberta and Northwest Territories
It is estimated that as many as 4,000 small businesses have been affected by the wildfire in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The municipality plays an integral role in the Canadian economy, contributing $91 billion to national GDP and 480,000 jobs.
More information on supports available to RMWB small business is online at redcross.ca/ AlbertaFiresBusiness and choosewoodbuffalo.ca. Local businesses can also contact the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s Business Recovery Hotline at 1-855-RMWB BIZ (1-855-769-2249). This hotline provides updates for business owners and links them to local resources.