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Additional funding available for small businesses affected by the wildfires

Last Updated Oct 19, 2016 at 10:08 am MST

PHOTO. Sign welcoming residents upon re-entry after a 6 week evacuation due to wildfire. NICOLE BAGGIO. Staff.

The Canadian Red Cross and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) have launched a joint application for small businesses that require financial assistance.

The Red Cross has committed $30 million, including matching funds of $15 million from the province, to its Small Business Support Program.

The funding is being distributed in three phases, in this second phase the Red Cross will provide up to $8,000 to eligible small businesses to support fixed and new expenses that have occurred as a result of interrupted business due to the wildfire.

The amount of assistance provided will be based on needs and determined through an application process.

“In the face of one of our country’s worst natural disasters, Fort McMurray small businesses are showing incredible resilience and taking the lead in rebuilding their city,” said Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Government of Alberta. “Small business leaders here know they can count on these programs to help get them back on their feet – because they designed the programs with us.  Working together we are creating new jobs and an economy for the future.”

The RMWB is contributing a total of $15 million to its Small Business Workforce Support Program with a total of $5 million being delivered as immediate financial assistance, and the remaining $10 million dedicated to long-term recovery efforts.

“Small businesses are critical to economic growth and job creation in the region, we are committed to business in Wood Buffalo and this funding represents a direct investment into our business community,” said Mayor Melissa Blake. “This program directly responds to the most urgent needs identified by our small business community and will help our businesses to continue to move forward as we rebuild together.”

The goal of the Small Business Workforce Support Program is to help small business employers by providing financial assistance to offset costs related to attracting, hiring and keeping employees.

Business owners can now apply for financial support from both programs by completing one application online.

Applications from small businesses for this next phase of funding will be accepted until December 16, 2016. More information and assistance is available at 1-855-RMWB-BIZ.