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If your business has been affected by the fires, you can apply for tax remittance relief from the CRA and PST Branch while you navigate these difficult times. Please follow the link provided for steps on how file for relief with the CRA. For PST, CFIB has been in touch with the Branch. Taxpayers have been instructed to call the General Enquires number at 1-877-388-4440, to communicate to the Ministry that they have been impacted by the wildfires.
If your business has not been affected by the fires, however, you are located in an area where it may be at risk, now is the perfect time to formulate an Emergency Preparedness plan, should the unthinkable happen. If you do not currently have a plan in place, or don’t know where to begin, please follow this link to access a template,
This is also a good time to review your business insurance to confirm whether or not you have wildfire coverage. Many insurance plans claim to cover fire damage, however in some cases this is only applicable to fire that was caused by the actions of the business or arson. Often, “acts of nature” are not included in business insurance plans unless specifically requested. Contact your business insurance provider today to ensure that your business is covered. If not, you may still be able to add this coverage.
Your livelihood is your livestock. The BC Cattlemen’s Association is connecting ranchers who need to move their livestock with people who can help get horses and smaller animals out of evacuation areas with trailers. Additionally, there is a Facebook group, BC’s Emergency Livestock /Animal Evacuation Group has been created to connect those in need to those who can help. A wildfire animal rescue map has been set up to help plot out exact locations where people can offer trailers or pasture to people in need as well as plot out if they need trailers or trucks to haul livestock. Farmers who have been unable to have their livestock transported, have, in some cases, opened their gates to allow the animals to flee, with plans to round them up after the fires are extinguished.
If your business is affected by the wildfire, your employees will need the ability to collect Employment Insurance (EI). If you currently pay into EI, you will need this ability as well. To be prepared for this potential necessity, or to file an application, please visit this link.
*Download the larger, printable PDF here
Just like business insurance, you will want to get in touch with your home insurance provider to ensure that your house is covered for wildfire damage. This is much more common to be included in home insurance, however, it is always best to confirm. Additionally, if you have not catalogued good in your house that you would like insured (that you would not be able to bring with you in an evacuation), now is a good time to do so. Take a picture of the item and receipt (if available) and write a description.
Emergency Evacuation Plan
Wildfires can move fast. If you have kids, pets or a significant other, it is important to have an emergency evacuation plan in place, including: multiple evacuation routes planned (should one be closed), a house exit strategy, plus “ditch kits” (ie. an overnight bag prepared in case you need to grab and run, including non-perishable foods and water). Know where you are going to go. Do you have family or friends you can stay with? Call them now to confirm so you don’t have to scramble and fight for hotel space. Having a plan in place will help you to maintain your calm and be prepared.
CMHC encourages homeowners to contact their financial institution at the first sign of difficulty to discuss their individual situations and options.
CMHC provides lenders with options for homeowners that may be impacted by these unfortunate events including:
Given the circumstances, CMHC has provided lenders with added flexibility to make these special arrangements quickly. For more information, homeowners may also consult “How to Deal with Mortgage Payment Difficulties” on our website.
In some cases, pets are left behind due to not being able to find them in an emergency, or not being able to fit them. The Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team (CDART) is a non-profit organization that goes into at risk or affected communities and aids in the safe evacuation of your furry friends. If you will need assistance or currently need their help, please visit the link provided and contact them as soon as possible.
If you are planning to drive anywhere in BC, you will want to ensure that your route is safe. Many times when wildfires flare up, roads can be closed without notice, please reference this interactive map, in real time (refreshed every 25 seconds) to see if the wildfires will affect your trip.
Other questions not addressed here
The BC Provincial Government has a webpage dedicated wildfires and what to do/what you need to know. There is information here to help you in case of emergency.
If you want to help
Finally, if you would like to support fellow small business owners and those affected by the fires, the BC Government has recommended donating to the Canadian Red Cross online or you can text FIRES to 45678 to donate $10 to the Canadian Red Cross BC Fires Appeal.