The Government of Alberta, Canada, the Region of Wood Buffalo and the Canadian Red Cross are providing small local businesses in the region with additional funding.
Starting in September, small local businesses affected by the wildfire can apply to receive $20,000 to help cover costs that includes new equipment, property damage and cleanup.
Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Deron Bilous along with Mayor of Fort McMurray Melissa Blake, Vice President of the Canadian Red Cross of Alberta and the Northwest Territories, Jenn McManus and President of the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce, Bryce Kumka we’re all on hand for the announcement.
“I’m confident that this will provide the proactive approach needed to support small and medium sized businesses in the RMWB and play a important role in supporting economic recovery in the short, medium and long-term,” said Minister Bilous. “These supports reflect all the feedback of all levels of government and the Canadian Red Cross has received from the business community in the area.”
It’s estimated that close to 4,000 small and medium sized businesses were affected in some way by the wildfire and the evacuation.
This money is part of the $25.5 million funding which was allocated from the Provincial and National Governments as well as the Red Cross to help these small businesses in their recovery process. $4.5 million has also been allocated to the business hotline which was put up in May and has already seen over 11,000 calls.
The RMWB will also allocate $15 million to the small and medium sized business community in a second financial program. The funding will be used to help solely with wages and labour assistance.
“I am overjoyed that the grant funding is available to those very worthy businesses, I think it’s a fundamental part of a regions rebuild and I know just how much it’s going to help,” said Mayor Blake.
Certain criteria must be met by these businesses to be eligible. This includes employing less than fifty workers while having plans to resume operations in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo by the end of this year.
“Our number one priority is to work together so local business owners and employers have access to the services and programs they need to re-establish their operations and support their employees,” said Minister Bilous. “Small businesses in Fort McMurray will get back on their feet, they will rebuild stronger than ever and they will continue to play a critical role in the economic recovery and ensure the economiuc success of our Province.”
Home businesses will also be available for the funding as each application will be seen on a case by case basis. Applications will be available starting in September for both of the $20,000 funding and the wages and labour assistance from the municipality.