Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology  has said “Small businesses throughout the province are clearly feeling the impact of this year’s wildfires, as the number of applications is dramatic. This is an initial first step for small businesses, and the B.C. government continues to assess their needs to make sure we can effectively support them.”

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.

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.