BC Fires: Assistance FAQs

Registration

If you have been evacuated, please register online or by phone 1-800-863-6582.
 
How do I register?
You can register online or by phone at 1-800-863-6582.
You will need to provide basic information about you and your household such as name, date of birth, email address, and home address.
 
My area is under evacuation alert, not evacuation order; should I register?
The Red Cross is here to help everyone who has been impacted by the wildfires. This means, even those who have to evacuate without receiving a government-issued evacuation order. (e.g. people who have evacuated because of an evacuation alert or because of health concerns).

Why register?
Registering with the Red Cross will help make sure people are safe and accounted for, will allow families that may become separated to reunite and will enable the Red Cross to reach evacuees with important information and assistance.

I have registered with Emergency Social Services (ESS) do I need to register also with the Red Cross?
Yes, you need to register with us even if you registered with ESS.  We invite you to register online or by phone at 1-800-863-6582.

What do I do If I don’t have an email address, or don’t have internet banking set up? 
Please call our contact centre at 1-800-863-6582 so we can assist with your registration and make alternate arrangements foryou to receive funds. 
 
Do I need to give my banking information?
No, you will only need to provide basic information about you and your household such as name, date of birth, email address, and home address.
 
How is my information being used?
Personal information collected is collected strictly  to provide information and support to those impacted by the wildfires in British Columbia. Information may also be used for confidential, one-on-one needs assessments for additional support if needed.  
 
Is there a deadline date to register?
There is no deadline to register with Red Cross at this time. We will post an update if this changes. We invite all evacuees to register online or by calling 1-800-863-6582.
 

Assistance

I evacuated voluntarily, without an official evacuation order; can I get assistance?
The Red Cross is here to help everyone who has been impacted by the wildfires. This means, even those who had to evacuate without receiving a government-issued evacuation order. (e.g. people who have evacuated because of an evacuation alert or because of health concerns). Please register with us online or by calling 1-800-863-6582.
 
Who is eligible to receive the initial $600 per household?
There are two eligibility criteria:
1- You have evacuated your residence (whether from an evacuation order or evacuation alert).
2- You must pass identity authentication through our web portal using our built-in verification system.

I registered with the Red Cross and have not received the funds yet
  • Please make sure you are registered with the Red Cross. It’s a different registration process from the Emergency Social Services (ESS).
  • If you want to validate your registration, please contact us at 1-800-863-6582.
  • If your registration has been completed, we are currently working to validate your eligibility. Once it is confirmed, you will hear back from us for the $600 fund transfer.
Will there be more money after this initial $600? 
  • The Red Cross will be providing additional financial assistance ($600 per household) every 14 days on an ongoing basis until evacuees return home. If you are already registered with us, you do not have to do anything – we will contact you with information about this additional assistance. If you have not yet registered with the Red Cross, please do so as soon as possible.
  • Please note that we will begin to process your payment after 14 days, which means it will take several days after that for you to receive the electronic transfer. We appreciate your patience in the process.
I have evacuated for more than 14 days now and I did not get the additional financial assistance
  • We begin to process your assistance after 14 days, which means it will take several days after that for families to receive the electronic transfer. We appreciate your patience in the process.
Can people who have re-located outside of B.C receive the $600 per household?
Yes. People who have been affected by the fires and have re-located outside of B.C. are eligible to receive the financial assistance. We encouraged them to either register online or by calling 1-800-863-6582.

Why is the assistance per household and not per person?
Consistent with the Spring Floods that had recently occurred in British Columbia, an initial cash grant of $600 will be given to each eligible household to help cover their evacuation costs and every 14 days until evacuees return home.
It’s important to remember that this is the initial assistance that the Red Cross is providing in order to meet emergency financial needs as people remain out of their home. We will continue to work closely with the province to determine how we can best address the needs of those affected in the weeks and months to come.
 
What other types of assistance is the Red Cross providing?
Those who require assistance beyond what Emergency Social Services provides can see a Canadian Red Cross worker for a one-on-one assessment. Additional assistance could include help with emergency food and clothing, personal services, health care, children’s needs, emergency lodging, household supplies, and transportation until they return home. If you have urgent, immediate, unmet needs, please contact the closest ESS reception centre or the community re-entry centre if the evacuation order has been lifted in your area. 

Will someone with extensive damage and someone with minor damage be receiving the same amount of financial assistance?
At this time, financial assistance is being provided to all eligible households. Additional assistance will be available to support people’s recovery following one-on-one needs assessments with our case workers. The Canadian Red Cross will continue to work closely with local authorities to ensure that our assistance helps those with the greatest needs – now, and in the weeks and months to come

Are you distributing cash cards/vouchers?
The Canadian Red Cross and Province of British of Columbia are working together to provide financial assistance to registered evacuees through electronic funds transfers. In some cases, when a registered evacuee does not have access to online banking, a cash card or voucher may be used to make sure they are provided with help.
 
Why are there two processes in place for cash cards?
The Canadian Red Cross and the Province of British Columbia are working together to register and provide support to people who have been impacted by wildfires. Part of the process is to verify the eligibility of those who register. There are circumstances where an evacuee might not have the resources to support themselves while the verification process is happening – in these cases a local ESS or Red Cross volunteer may be able to provide emergency support to meet urgent needs. These people will still be eligible for the $600 per household, once verification is complete.   
 

Re-entry assistance:

What do I do when I return home?
Canadian Red Cross teams are in communities to meet people when they return home. Please visit your nearest re-entry centres to check in with the Red Cross. You will be asked to provide government-issued identification as you re-enter your community. 

Upon re-entry the Red Cross and the Province of B.C. will provide you with:
 
  • $300 per household in direct financial assistance to help purchase items such as groceries and additional cleaning products
  • After the Fire Clean-Up Kit (cleaner, gloves, bucket, garbage bags, etc.)
  • Additional information specific to your community. 
  • For more information on what to do after a fire, please download our Guide to Fire Recovery. And if you would like further information, you may also reach us at 1-800-863-6582.

How will I get this $300 after returning home?
Your local authority will have a re-entry centre set up when you return to your community. You may find the list of re-entry centres here. You will be asked to provide government-issued identification and the funds will be electronically transferred to you via email within a few days. 

What do I do if I am returning home but have not received my initial funds?
Our teams are working hard to make sure you are getting the help you need through the direct funds. If you are returning home and have not received your initial funds, please know you are not forgotten. In the meantime, you can visit the Red Cross at a community re-entry centre for additional assistance.

Electronic transfer of funds questions

What happens if I received the electronic transfer of funds but I don’t have access to online banking right now? Is there an expiry?
Electronic banking transfers expire after 30 days. If you do not accept this transfer of funds within this period ,you are still eligible to receive Red Cross financial assistance. If your transfer expires before you accept it, Red Cross will update your registration profile  to show you are eligible for an alternate form of assistance, like a cash card.
 
What happens if I received the email for the electronic funds transfer but the PIN doesn’t work?
Please call the contact centre at 1-800-863-6582 and an agent will be able to further assist you.
 
Why did some people receive the electronic funds transfer before others?
As you can imagine, as more communities are evacuated, the needs of individuals and families continue to be great. Red Cross staff and volunteers are working around the clock to reach everyone.

After we verify registration details, we can complete the electronic transfer. Due to a high level of activity and the amount of people evacuated, this can take time. Thank you for your patience.  
 
I am having trouble depositing this into my bank account.
Please contact your financial institution with any technical questions. You can also contact Interac for any questions regarding the deposit process with electronic fund transfers.

What banks will accept RBC deposits?
All Canadian banks.

What if I improperly enter my PIN?
In order to re-enter your PIN, you must click the link you received in your initial email from the Canadian Red Cross.
 
I entered my PIN too many times and then the funds are no longer accessible?
Don't worry, we will re-issue your payment for you. Please call the contact centre at 1-800-863-6582 and an agent will be able to further assist you.
 
What if I can’t see my PIN?
Please call the contact centre at 1-800-863-6582 and an agent will be able to further assist you.
 
Why am I receiving a PIN and no link?
The first email only gives you a PIN, so please wait for a second email that will give you the link to the deposit. Please use the PIN from the first email to access the deposit. These second e-mails will arrive within the next 24 hours.