Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General

Small business owners in B.C.’s northwest who suffered financial and business losses following British Columbia’s devastating 2018 wildfire season can now apply for additional assistance.

Eligible business owners may receive up to $20,000 through the Canadian Red Cross’s Support for Small Business Program.  

“Small businesses are at the core of our communities in B.C., and it’s critical that the Province support their recovery from any disaster,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “This financial assistance is about ensuring small business owners, employees and by extension, their communities, are more resilient to future events.”

Eligible business owners and not-for-profit organizations with fewer than 50 employees will be able to apply through the program. The funding comes from $10 million the Province provided to the Red Cross in November 2018 for wildfire recovery efforts.

“The Red Cross remains committed to supporting wildfire recovery in B.C.,” said Elysia Dempsey, emergency management director, Canadian Red Cross. “Thanks to this funding from the provincial government, we can provide this program that will further assist people and their communities to recover after this disaster.”

Financial assistance is designed to help with expenses including uninsured losses, cleanup and repair of property, replacement or short-term lease of tools and equipment, moving and storage expenses, lease payments, utility bills and other operational costs related to wildfire impacts. Eligibility will be based on individual needs and determined based on an application process managed through the Canadian Red Cross.

This program is based on similar successful initiatives used to support businesses in the Cariboo and Grand Forks following the wildfires and floods that impacted those regions in 2017 and 2018.