A key plank of the Business and Economic Disaster Recovery Plan is being rolled out by the RMWB.
The municipality is offering $1,000 to eligible small businesses that were affected by “The Beast” to help with emergency financial relief. The funding is available through financial support being provided by the Canadian Red Cross.
“Our businesses are resilient,” Mayor Melissa Blake said. “But the wildfires have affected our community profoundly.”
The emergency relief is part of an effort to help local businesses remain afloat after the disaster. Research by FEMA in the U.S. has found that following a natural disaster, over 40% of businesses fail to re-open. Of those who do, 29% close within 2 years. Similar statistics were realized after the High River floods in 2013. However, there isn’t much data relating to businesses re-opening after a month-long city-wide evacuation due to wildfire.
In order to qualify for the funding, businesses must be headquartered or located in the RMWB, employ 50 people or less, and have a valid local business licence. They must also register with the Wood Buffalo Business Recovery Hotline at 1-855-RMWB-BIZ.