BC Fires: Assistance FAQs

Questions about :

Registration

If you have been evacuated, please register by phone at 1-800-863-6582 (Monday to Sunday: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT)
 
How do I register?
You can register by phone at 1-800-863-6582. (Monday to Sunday: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT)
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 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 for you 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 by calling 1-800-863-6582. 

I received an email to verify my identity, is this real?
Yes, this is a message from the Red Cross. We are undertaking digital verification to ensure we reach all individuals impacted by the fires in British Columbia.  Please follow the instructions within the email to verify your identity with us. This will allow us to continue to provide you with support and programs in the weeks and months to come.

I didn’t receive a verification email, what do I do?
We are undertaking digital verification to ensure we reach all individuals impacted by the fires in British Columbia. 
Please do not be concerned if you have not received a verification email from the us. We will contact you if we require additional information. 

How do I know the verification email is not a scam?
We will never ask for your banking or credit card information; you should not provide this information if you are asked for it. Please be sure to respond only to emails sent from a @redcross.ca email address.

I don’t know how to upload my documents. I need help. 
We require impacted individuals to verify their identity to complete their registration. If you prefer, you may present the same documents requested online at one of our Support or Resilience centres.

How do I update my registration information? Can I change my email address? 
Yes. If you would like to confirm or update any information on your registration you can do so by contacting our call centre at 1-800-863-6582. Please note, changing your email address may cause additional delay in our ability to reach you with immediate assistance as we verify updated information. 
 

Assistance

How do people know if they are eligible for the financial assistance after 14 days if they do not have access to electronic banking?
Only households who were evacuated for a full 14 days or longer, from the date of the official Evacuation Order, are eligible for the second $600 payment from the provincial funding. If you are eligible for the second $600 payment, and do not have access to online banking, we will contact you. You do not need to call, register again, or take any other action.

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 by calling 1-800-863-6582.

If you self evacuated before the evacuation order, you are still eligible for the initial $600 payment. The Red Cross will also be providing additional financial assistance ($600 per household) to eligible households every 14 days on an ongoing basis measured from when the Evacuation Order was issued until the community lifts the Order. 

Please note that even if you are not eligible for the second $600 of provincial funding, we can still help you, please visit the nearest reception centre  and apply for Emergency Social Services. If there is no local Reception Centre, please call 1-800-585-9559 for provincial ESS support. 

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 

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.
Are we eligible to receive the second $600 of financial assistance from the Red Cross?
  • The current one-time $600-per-household funding will be renewed every 14 days on an ongoing basis until the Evacuation Order is lifted. The Red Cross has begun to distribute the second round of financial assistance to eligible households. 
  • Only households who were evacuated for a full 14 days or longer, from the date of the official Evacuation Order, are eligible for the second $600 payment from the provincial funding. Please know this is not the end of Red Cross assistance, we will continue to provide support in the weeks and months to come.

I am on an evacuation alert but I am not returning home. Am I eligible for additional assistance?
Only households who were evacuated for a full 14 days or longer, from the date of the official Evacuation Order, are eligible for the second $600 payment from the provincial funding. Please know this is not the end of Red Cross assistance, we will continue to provide support in the weeks and months to come.

If you have self-evacuated and need support, please visit your local reception centre and apply for Emergency Social Services. If there is no local Reception Centre, please call 1-800-585-9559 for provincial ESS support. 

How is “14 days” measured?
The 14 day period of evacuation is measured from when the Evacuation Order was issued until the community lifts the Order. 

In the event of a second (or more) evacuation, additional assistance of $600 will be provided following 14 days from the most recent Evacuation Order. 

If I am evacuated a second time, will Red Cross provide me with an additional $600? Do I need to re-register with the Red Cross?

If you are re-evacuated, you do not need to register again with the Red Cross. If you are evacuated for a second time AND out of your home for 14 days (following the second evacuation order), your household is entitled to an additional $600 payment. You will not immediately receive an additional $600 payment.

If you remain out of your home and require additional support you may be eligible for provincial ESS and/or other Red Cross supports. Please visit your local reception centre or call 1-800-585-9559 for Emergency Social Services support.

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 register 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.

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.   

Is there assistance available for households who are hosting evacuees?
To inquire about funding for households hosting evacuee, please contact Emergency Social Services at 1-800-585-9559
 
The Canadian Red Cross is committed to supporting everyone evacuated as a result of the fires in B.C. If evacuees have additional needs as a result of an evacuation, including emergency food or lodging, they can meet with a Red Cross case worker who can identify what kind of additional support they are eligible for.  
 

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. To support 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 Fire Clean-Up Kit (cleaner, gloves, bucket, garbage bags, etc.)
  • Additional information specific to your community

If you have completed registration, you do not need to check-in with us in person for your $300 financial assistance.
If you have unmet needs, or require an After Fire Clean-Up Kit, please visit the closest Support or Resilience Centre for additional assistance. For more information on what to do after a fire, download our Guide to Fire Recovery.  You may also reach us at your   1-800-863-6582.

How will I get the $300 after returning home? When will people receive the $300 promised by Red Cross?
The Red Cross has begun to distribute re-entry funds to all registered evacuees impacted by the wildfires. These funds are meant to support re-entry and meet basic needs as residents return home. If you have completed your registration, you do not have to do anything to become eligible for the $300 re-entry funds – we will contact you with information about this additional assistance. 

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 Resiliency centre for additional assistance.

Do I need to register again when I return home or if I have not received my money?
No. If you have registered with the Red Cross once you do not have to register again.
If you are concerned that your registration information was not properly captured you can contact 1-800-
 863-6582
.

If I am evacuated a second time, Am I eligible for an additional $300 per household for clean-up?
No. The $300 of re-entry assistance is one-time funding. However, if you are re-entering your community after a second Evacuation Order, you may be eligible for other Red Cross support. 
Please visit your local reception centre or call 1-800-585-9559 for provincial Emergency Social Services support.

Further assistance from the Canadian Red Cross will be provided through a one-on-one assessment to help meet additional needs during evacuation and throughout recovery. Additional assistance will be provided to those who require support beyond that provide by Emergency Social Services. This could include support for emergency food and clothing, personal services, health care, children’s needs, emergency lodging, household supplies, and transportation.

What additional assistance is the Red Cross providing?
Further assistance from the Canadian Red Cross will be provided through a one-on-one assessment to help meet additional needs during evacuation and throughout recovery. Additional assistance will be provided to those who require support beyond that provide by Emergency Social Services. This could include support for emergency food and clothing, personal services, health care, children’s needs, emergency lodging, household supplies, and transportation.

How do I get additional assistance?
Additional Red Cross assistance is provided on a case-by-case basis according to the unmet needs of individuals and families, in order to provide support.  Residents can visit the closest Support or community Resilience Centre, in the event an evacuation order has been lifted, if they have immediate, unmet needs.

Are you supporting fridge/freezer replacements?
Yes. The Canadian Red Cross is providing additional support for households impacted by the wildfires in B.C. Residents must engage in a one-one-one needs assessment with a Red Cross case worker to determine if they are eligible for a new fridge.

Please note that additional assistance for those who have urgent needs will be available on a case-by-case basis. If you have unmet needs, we invite you to visit the closest Support or community Resilience Centre.

Electronic transfer of funds questions

How do I accept your electronic transfer (EFT)?
Please follow this easy step by step process to accept your EFT

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.