BC Fires: Assistance FAQs

Questions about:

If you have been impacted by the wildfires and have urgent, unmet needs, please visit one of our Support Centres.
 
If you have questions, we invite you to contact our call centre at 1-800-863-6582 Mondays to Fridays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  PT. Closed Sundays and statutory holidays.
 

Assistance

If you have been impacted by the fires and you haven’t registered with the Red Cross, please call us at 1-800-863-6582 (Monday to Fridays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m Closed Sundays and statutory holidays)

Who is eligible to receive the initial $600 per household?
There are two eligibility criteria:
  1. You have evacuated your residence (from an official evacuation order or possibly an evacuation alert, for example due to medical/health requirements).
  2. You must pass identity authentication
Are we eligible to receive the second $600 of financial assistance from the Red Cross?
  1. 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. 
  2. 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.

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. 

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.

What do I do once 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. provides 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.
  • For more information on what to do after a fire, please download our Guide to Fire Recovery. If you would like further information, please go to redcross.ca for frequently asked questions and resources. You may also reach us at 1-800-863-6582.
  • The Canadian Red Cross is committed to helping you and your community recover from this disaster. Please reach out to us if you need any guidance or help. We are here for you.
How will I get the $300 after returning home? When will people receive the $300 promised by the Red Cross?
  • The Red Cross distributed 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.

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

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 a Red Cross Support 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.
 
What should I do if I am still waiting for the money and need urgent help in the meantime?

  • People needing assistance can phone the Red Cross call centre at 1-800-863-6582 or visit one of their Support Centres
  • Red Cross is meeting with people one-on-one, assessing their unique situations and needs, and determining how to best support them.

 The Canadian Red Cross is committed to helping you and your community recover from this disaster. Please reach out to us if you need guidance or help. We are here for you.

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 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. 

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.   

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.