As the full scope and scale of impacts from the severe wildfire in Fort McMurray becomes clearer and Alberta transitions from response to resilience efforts, the British Columbia government continues to extend its hand of help with resources to aid the neighbouring province.
The Province is in regular contact with Alberta and remains prepared to further support them with response or recovery assets should assistance be requested.
In addition to the $300,000 donation from the Government of British Columbia to the Canadian Red Cross to support relief efforts in Fort McMurray, assistance provided or offered to date, includes:
- Between May 4 and May 11, $289,661 has been raised by donations at BC Liquor Stores locations throughout B.C.
- Two fire cause investigators and one fire weather forecaster from the BC Wildfire Service.
- 150 RCMP tactical troop and traffic service officers from throughout B.C. have been temporarily redeployed to northern Alberta at the request of the federal government.
- B.C. has provided 187 firefighters, 25 support staff (including two people from the Doig River First Nation), an 11-person Incident Management Team, eight helicopters and eight pieces of heavy equipment to fight the cross-border Siphon Creek fire.
- Alberta students relocating to British Columbia schools to complete this year’s studies will be welcomed with open arms, and the Ministry of Education will work with school districts to support these students.
- Health Emergency Management BC continues to work with the Public Health Agency of Canada on responding to Alberta’s request for health worker assistance.
- BC Vital Statistics Agency will help people who have lost documentation in the Fort McMurray fire by offering free replacement birth certificates. People can call the agency at 250 952-2681 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (PDT) for assistance.
Effective today, government is also extending support to student loan borrowers to ensure they do not face even greater difficulty managing finances during this challenging time. Specific provisions include:
- Temporarily suspending collections activity for B.C. student loan borrowers who are currently in default and have registered permanent addresses in the Fort McMurray area. For more information, contact Revenue Services BC at: 1-866 345-3930.
- Borrowers unable to make their regular payments as a result of the wildfires can call the National Student Loan Services Centre (NSLSC) to complete an accelerated application for the Repayment Assistance Plan. Contact NSLSC at: 1-888 815-4514.
British Columbians who wish to contribute to the Canadian Red Cross campaign can do so by continuing to make a donation at any BC Liquor Stores location or by donating directly to the Canadian Red Cross: Call toll-free: 1-800 418-1111 or donate online at: http://ow.ly/YQT73000Q5s
Emergency Management BC
Emergency Management BC (EMBC), the lead agency in B.C. for co-ordinating and responding to emergencies, has reached out to the Alberta Emergency Management Agency to offer help, including sharing incident-management staff that organize and lead in emergency operation centres. EMBC is ready to provide emergency evacuation specialists and a mobile support team of experts in working with emergency social services teams on the ground.