Support to Small Businesses, Not-for-Profit Organizations and First Nations Cultural Livelihoods FAQs

1. Who can apply?
Small businesses, organizations and First Nations members who run small business or cultural livelihoods impacted by the fires in B.C. are welcome to apply to the Support to Small Business program. To determine whether your business fits the criteria, please see the list below.

First, you must ensure you identify with one of three categories:
  • Small Businesses (Including sole proprietors, partnerships and franchises)
  • Not-for-Profit Organizations
  • First Nations businesses and cultural livelihoods on reserve
Secondly, you must:
  • Have 50 employees or less
  • Be located in an impacted community
  • Have been in operation on or before July 7, 2017
  • Be financially vulnerable as a result of the 2017 B.C. Fires
  • Have resumed or are intending to resume operations
  • Have a net income of less than $250,000 (calculated as revenue less expenses)
  • Have the business or livelihood as your primary source of income (does not apply for not-for-profit organizations) 
2. Who is Marsh Canada and why are they administering the applications?
Marsh is a global leader in insurance broking and risk management. The Canadian Red Cross has contracted Marsh Canada to administer applications, as they hold industry-specific expertise in the area of insurance program management services. The Canadian Red Cross knows that Marsh is a trusted global leader in this area, and worked with them on the administration of the Support to Small Business program in Wood Buffalo after the wildfires in Alberta in 2016. Working alongside Marsh ensures that the Red Cross Support to Small Business program properly reaches and represents the needs and interests of the impacted community in B.C. Working with Marsh also allows the Red Cross to assist those in need of business support as quickly and effectively as possible.
3. Will they ask me for banking information?
Marsh Canada does not require your banking information to process your application. However, Marsh Canada will require details about your business financials in order to determine whether you meet the eligibility criteria. This is a process that must be followed in order to maintain the integrity of the program.
In addition, all applicants that are validated and accepted, will receive the emergency financial assistance through an electronic fund transfer. This means, the Red Cross will never require your banking information. Electronic fund transfers simply require your email address. 
4. What if my community is not on the list? 
Eligible communities are those that are or were under an evacuation order or evacuation alert as a result of the 2017 British Columbia Fires, including First Nations businesses or traditional cultural livelihoods located on-reserve. In addition, the province has identified additional eligible communities who have been impacted by highway closures. These include:

  • Baldy Hughes
  • Barkerville
  • Bella Coola
  • Black Creek
  • Blackwater
  • Bouchie Lake
  • Buckhorn
  • Cinema
  • Cottonwood
  • Firvale
  • Gravelle Ferry
  • Hagensborg
  • Hendrix Lake
  • Hixon
  • Horsefly
  • Keithley Creek
  • Likely
  • Pinegrove
  • Punchaw
  • Quesnel
  • Quesnel Forks
  • Red Rock
  • Rich Bar
  • Stanley
  • Strathnaver
  • Stuie
  • Tallheo
  • Tatlayoko Lake
  • Ten Mile Lake
  • Wells
  • Woodpecker 
First Nations communities:
  • Tsi-del-del (Alexis Creek First Nation) 
5. What is the deadline to apply?
Applications for this emergency financial assistance will be accepted up until October 31, 2017.
6. Do I have to apply online?
You can apply online or by phone. The online application is a user-friendly process that is intended to give you the ability to apply at your own pace. If applying online is not an option for you, you can call the Support to Small Business Helpline at 1-855-999-3345 where you can complete your application over the phone. The Helpline is active from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT, Monday to Friday.
If neither of these options works for you, please call the Helpline at 1-855-999-3345 or email for further assistance.
7. How will I receive my money?
Once your application has been received, validated and accepted, the Red Cross will electronically transfer the emergency financial assistance to your business’s bank account. If electronic banking is not an option, the Red Cross will work with you to ensure an appropriate method of payment is issued in an alternative way. Please note that the Red Cross will never ask for banking information.
8. I am not the business owner or Executive Director. Can I apply on behalf of the business or not-for profit?
Yes. If you have authorization from the business owner or the not-for-profit to apply on their behalf, the Red Cross welcomes the application. Please note, it is your responsibility to ensure you have the necessary internal authorization in order to move forward with the application process.
9. I applied and haven’t heard back. What should I do next?
Please be patient. We are in the process of reviewing a large volume of applications. If you haven’t heard back, it does not mean your application has not been accepted. If you have not heard back after 5 days after submitting your application, please call the Red Cross Support to Small Business Helpline at 1-855-999-3345 to inquire further about the status of your application.
10. I need more help finding information on available resources for small businesses. Where can I go?
If you are looking for more information on resources available for small businesses, you can contact the B.C. Economic Development Association’s Economic Recovery Hotline at 1-877-4BC-EDRP (1-877-422-3377).
11. I’ve applied; what happens next?
We are currently processing a large number of applications. You will hear from the Red Cross regardless of whether your application is accepted or not. If you have not received a reply after 5 days after submitting your application, please call the Red Cross Support to Small Business Helpline at 1-855-999-3345 to inquire further about the status of your application.