British Columbia

Businesses eligible for more wildfire financial assistance

The province announced Wednesday a second phase of funding to help businesses, not-for-profits and First Nations cultural livelihoods affected by the unprecedented wildfire season this year.

Phase 2 of funding also available to not-for-profits, First Nations cultural livelihoods

A second phase of relief funding for businesses affected by this year's wildfires has been announced by the province.

The province has announced a second phase of funding to help businesses affected by this summer's unprecedented wildfire season. 

At its peak, more than 45,000 people were displaced from their homes, and a record number of hectares of land burned. 

Months on, the government says many businesses are still feeling the impacts. 

Emergency grants of $1,500 were offered to eligible businesses, First Nations and non-profits earlier this year. 

On Wednesday, Forests Minister Doug Donaldson announced that  those impacted will now be able to apply for up to $18,500 in assistance. Non-profits will be eligible for up to $8,500.

"Coming from a rural community myself I know that small businesses are often the economic backbone of rural communities, so today's funding will help small businesses keep that important role," said Donaldson at a news conference in Victoria. 

Businesses, First Nations and not-for-profits will be able to apply for funding to help with uninsured losses, deductibles, minor repairs, cleanup, equipment and occupational training. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The Red Cross is managing the funds through the support to small business program

Kimberley Nemrava, vice-president of the B.C. and Yukon branch of the Canadian Red Cross, says the money will help with items like uninsured losses, deductibles, minor repairs, cleanup, equipment and occupational training expenses. 

"More than 3,000 businesses, not-for-profits and First Nations cultural livelihoods have been hurt by the fires," Nemrava said. 

"Lengthy evacuations and months of heavy smoke have impacted revenues and even created staffing challenges."

Months of heavy smoke and lengthy evacuations have taken a toll on more than 3,000 businesses, not-for-profits and First Nations, according to the Canadian Red Cross. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Eligibility 

To apply, a business or First Nations cultural livelihood must meet these requirements: 

  • Have 50 employees or fewer
  • Be located in an eligible community 
  • Have been in operation before July 7, 2017
  • Be financially vulnerable as a result of this summer's fires
  • Have resumed or are intending to resume operations
  • Have a net income of less than $250,000
  • Have the business or livelihood be their primary source of income

Nemrava says those interested can apply online or with a paper application available at a Community Futures office. 

Once a business is approved, it can expect to see the money within 15 business days. 

Applications can be made until April 6, 2018.