The Tourism Industry Association of Canada team is closely monitoring the challenging conditions brought on by wildfires in the Northwest Territories and British Columbia. Our organization extends its heartfelt support to all communities and businesses affected by these devastating events. We understand the difficulties and consequences of the wildfires, and the ensuing financial hardship that may be faced.
TIAC is actively engaged in ongoing conversations and communications with federal officials and industry partners to determine the best ways to provide assistance. This includes direct conversations with Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada (ISED). We are also in contact with our provincial colleagues to better gauge the crisis and the economic concerns that tourism businesses in the regions are facing. In this time of crisis, it’s important to have a clear view on the supports available to you, your staff, and your business.
At this time, the federal government is recommending business impacted by wildfires reach out to their local Regional Development Agency (RDA). For Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario (FedNor), this would be within their Community Futures Program. Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan) has pertinent programming as well.
- The Federal Government is providing to the Northwest Territories funding dedicated to response and recovery activities for eligible First Nations through Indigenous Services Canada’s Emergency Management Assistance Program.
- Indigenous Services Canada is also providing British Columbia with funding for preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery through the Emergency Management Assistance Program (EMAP) and is keeping in close contact with affected First Nations communities in B.C. to ensure they are fully supported during emergency events and evacuations now and into the future.
- The Federal Government has a donation-matching program with the Northwest Territories, through United Way, that is supporting disaster relief and recovery efforts in a number of communities.
- The Federal Government has announced that evacuees who have lost jobs or need to apply for Employment Insurance (or other benefits) will have applications prioritized, done through enhanced Service Canada delivery, outreach to evacuees, and deployment of mobile units to evacuation centres to assist clients by offering support in submitting applications for benefits.
- Public Services and Procurement Canada will work with British Columbia to support any emerging contracting needs.
- The Canadian Red Cross is encouraging people under evacuation orders in British Columbia to register with the Red Cross, which ensures that people can be contacted while away from home, and can be reached with information on Red Cross services and assistance that may become available to them during this difficult time.
- The provincial government announced on August 22, 2023, that they were lifting travel restrictions for the purpose of staying in temporary accommodation for most of the southern Interior, with the exception of West Kelowna. The order will be lifted for Kelowna, Kamloops, Oliver, Osoyoos, Penticton, and Vernon starting August 23, 2023.
- Businesses may be able to apply for tax remittance relief from the CRA and PST Branch if the business was affected by wildfires. For PST, taxpayers need to call 1-877-388-4440 to communicate to the Ministry they’ve been affected by wildfires.
- The Canadian Red Cross is encouraging people under evacuation orders in the Northwest Territories to register with the Red Cross, which ensures that people can be contacted while away from home, and can be reached with information on Red Cross services and assistance that may become available to them during this difficult time.
- Businesses may be able to apply for tax remittance relief from the CRA if the business was affected by wildfires.
- The territory’s government is working on plans regarding financial assistance for all evacuees (more details to come).
The Tourism Industry Association of Canada has, and will continue to advocate for the tourism sector, which is disproportionately affected by wildfires. Together, we will navigate these challenging times. The indomitable spirit of our industry has overcome many obstacles in the past, and there is no doubt we will overcome this one as well, together.
Please take care of yourselves, your families, and your employees. Your well-being is of utmost importance, and our thoughts are with you.