The Red Cross is offering up to $20,000 each for small businesses that experienced losses from the 2018 wildfires. (Black Press Media file photo)

Red Cross offers $20,000 in wildfire aid for businesses

The Canadian Red Cross is offering up to $20,000 in wildfire recovery aid for eligible businesses in the northwest of British Columbia.

Small business owners who suffered financial losses after the 2018 wildfire season can apply until Sept. 30, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and Emergency Management BC said in a June 11 press release.

Business owners and not-for-profit organizations with less than 50 employees are eligible to apply for the funding, which was made available from the $10 million the province gave the Red Cross last November for wildfire recovery.

LOOK BACK: B.C. boosts 2018 wildfire recovery aid by $10 million

Each eligible applicant could receive up to $20,000, and allocations are determined through individual needs.

Burns Lake mayor Dolores Funk told Lakes District News there is a need for such assistance following the wildfires.

“The $20,000 for businesses who experienced financial loss during the 2018 wildfire season is definitely a welcome injection of funds. A survey to assess financial impacts was completed by the Village with 76 per cent of 26 respondents experiencing reduced revenues in 2018 as compared to 2017 earnings.”

The assistance is aimed at helping with expenses such as 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 costs related to wildfire impacts.

“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.”

For information on eligibility requirements check out http://www.redcross.ca/bcfires2018/smallbusiness.

The Red Cross assistance comes just a few months after the Ministry of Agriculture said it was still offering financial aid to farmers from the 2018 Canada-British Columbia Wildfire Recovery Initiative.

That initiative had set aside as much as $5 million for agricultural producers coping with losses from the wildfires.

READ MORE: Government aid for wildfire-affected farmers ongoing


Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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