Wood Buffalo Economic Development

Committed to Business in Wood Buffalo


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RMWB releases Conference Board of Canada wildfire economic impact assessment and five-year regional outlook

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(Fort McMurray, AB – September 19, 2017) – The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has released a Conference Board of Canada report that studies both the economic impact of the 2016 Horse River Wildfire on the region and an economic outlook for the next five years.

The report, titled ‘Moving Forward. The Economic Impact of Rebuilding the Wood Buffalo Region’s Economy’ is now available for download online at choosewoodbuffalo.ca.

“We are strongly encouraged by the findings in this report, which suggest that the economic impacts associated with the wildfire are expected to have dissipated by 2021,” said Amanda Haitas, Manager, Wood Buffalo Economic Development. “Our region is resilient and already showing signs of growth, which are reflected in this report.”

To learn more about the report, you’re invited to attend the Chamber of Commerce luncheon on October 12, 2017 at the Quality Hotel and Conference Centre. The Conference Board of Canada will be presenting the report and answering questions.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo commissioned this study, with funding from the Government of Alberta, to help gain an improved understanding of the region’s economic outlook.

Current and prospective business owners in the region are encouraged to contact Wood Buffalo Economic Development at 1-855-WB-ECDEV (1-855-923-2338) or Economic.Development@rmwb.ca.


Wood Buffalo Economic Development releases regional data and development profiles

Learn more about the makeup of our region, demographics, population projections, upcoming development opportunities and more. Download the Regional Data and Development Profiles information booklets today at choosewoodbuffalo.ca.

Economic Development works with new and existing businesses in the region as they look to invest, grow and develop their businesses. This data helps businesses make informed decisions about how they want to operate and grow their footprint in the region.

The Business Resource Centre is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday to support new and existing businesses in the region.


Small Business Workforce Support Program Post-Program survey results now available

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(Fort McMurray, AB – June 27, 2017) – More than 300 recipients of funding through the Small Business Workforce Support Program took time to respond to a post-Program survey, providing data on how the funds were used and the impact of the program on local businesses.

Analysis of that date is being presented in a report that has been shared with key stakeholders.

Read the full report here.

The program was designed to support small business employers in the region by providing timely financial assistance to offset costs related to attracting, hiring, and keeping employees.


Economic Opportunity Assessment report 

(Fort McMurray, AB – June 26, 2017) In January, 2017, Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) visited the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo at the request of Wood Buffalo Economic Development to complete an economic opportunity assessment.

The Economic Opportunity Assessment Team (EOAT) has compiled a report on the impact of the 2016 Horse River Wildfire based on a one-week site assessment that included engaging with 207 individuals and based on research conducted before and after their visit.

There are more than 50 immediate-, short- and long-term recommendations in the report. All of the recommendations are worthy of review and our department is reviewing them.

That said, there are many recommendations that are now in place that were already being implemented when this report was written. There are other recommendations that require more long-term planning and a deeper conversation between the Municipality and its stakeholders.

It is important to remember the report captures input from only a small number of our business partners in the region and does not necessarily capture the experiences or opinions of each of the more than 4,000 registered business owners in the region.

The report is a third party review that was commissioned and paid for by Wood Buffalo Economic Development.

We are sharing this information not as an endorsement but in the interest of transparency.

You can find a link to download the report at http://www.edaalberta.ca/


RMWB launches ‘Your Guide to Starting and Operating a Business in Wood Buffalo’YG_Facebook

(Fort McMurray, AB – May 18, 2017) – Entrepreneurs and business owners now have access to a written guide for starting a business in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB). ‘Your Guide to Starting and Operating a Business in Wood Buffalo’ provides information entrepreneurs and business owners need when they are new to the community, considering starting a business, or new to owning a business in the region.

The Guide was created by the RMWB Economic Development Branch in partnership with Community Futures Wood Buffalo, S. Millard Chartered Professional Accountant, and Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). The development and distribution of the Guide was made possible thanks to funding from the Government of Alberta and Global Affairs Canada.

“This Guide meets the needs of business owners and entrepreneurs who have been coming to the Business Resource Centre looking for information about starting a business,” said Andrea Haley, Acting Manager, Economic Development. “Our goal was to make it easy for business owners to find both the information and resources they need to put their plans into action.”

If you have questions about the Guide or about economic development in the region, you can call 1.855.WBEcDev (923.2338), email economic.development@rmwb.ca or visit the Business Resource Centre at 309 Powder Drive.

The Guide will be available for pick-up at local business support organizations including:

  • Economic Development’s Business Resource Centre
  • Community Futures Wood Buffalo
  • Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce
  • Fort McMurray Construction Association
  • Fort McMurray Tourism, Keyano College, and
  • Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association.

The Guide will also be available at various Municipal office locations including Planning & Development at Timberlea Landing and at all rural offices.

You can download a copy of the Guide here.


Council Commendation Wildfire Medal Program

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In honour of the unprecedented cooperation, resourcefulness and heroism of those who participated in the first 100 hours of the 2016 Horse River Wildfire, Mayor and Council wish to recognize those extraordinary individuals.

The Council Commendation Wildfire Medal Program recognizes the outstanding service of those who participated during the first 100 hours wildfire, ­including Firefighters, RCMP, Bylaw Sheriffs, and members of the public.

You can nominate members of the public
Now you can nominate members of the public for the Award for Achievement in Public Service.

The online nomination form will be available from April 27 ­until May 19, 2017 at rmwb.ca/medal.

Award categories
While there are three categories for this program – Fire Fighter Award for Service, Law Enforcement Award for Service, and Award for Achievement in Public Service – you are encouraged to nominate for the Award for Achievement in Public Service.

Fire Fighters and Law Enforcement Personnel from across our region do not need to be nominated through the online process. The Municipality already has an extensive list of their names, and those identified will be receiving medals.

Nomination criteria
Nomination covers a period of service during which the individual performed actions, deeds or achievements within the first 100 hours of the wildfire from May 3, at 1 p.m. ­until May 7 at 5 p.m.

This includes Individuals from the public who have distinguished themselves by direct “hands on” participation in an act or operation of a humanitarian nature directed towards individuals or groups of individuals during the first 100 hours of the wildfire.

Nominate online
Find out more about the program and how you can recognize extraordinary individuals at rmwb.ca/medal.


Back to Business Resource Centre transitioning to new location on May 1

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(Fort McMurray, AB – April 24, 2017) – Effective May 1, 2017, the Back to Business Resource Centre will be transitioning from its Hardin Street location to a new location on the second floor of Timberlea Landing, located at 309 Powder Drive.

The transition also marks a significant milestone in the recovery of the business community as the Centre begins to transition away from offering recovery-related supports toward offering tools and resources geared toward those in the community who are starting and growing businesses.

In its new location, the Centre will also change names, transitioning to the Business Resource Centre, to reflect the shift in focus.

“It’s important to recognize that this transition is happening because the businesses in our community have shown incredible resilience and determination and the majority of them are now back to business at some level,” said Amanda Haitas, Manager, Economic Development. “Our business community has shown us that what they need is access to resources to both grow and maintain the businesses they’ve worked so hard to reopen and to start new businesses to meet the changing economic needs of this region.”

The Business Resource Centre will continue to offer programming and learning events including one-on-one Ask an Expert meetings, Business Support Network events, and learning workshops.

Anyone growing or starting a business will also be able to connect with other local business support organizations through the Business Resource Centre.

The Centre’s new location is in the same building as the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Economic Development branch, Planning and Development Department (Business Licensing and Permitting) and Engineering Department, all of which offer services essential to the business community.

Questions about this transition and about the services offered at the Business Resource Centre should be directed to economic.development@rmwb.ca or to 1-855-WBEcDev (923-2338).

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Contact:
pio@rmwb.ca


Small Business Workforce Support Program recipients asked to complete a survey

(Fort McMurray, AB – April 21, 2017) – The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is sending out a survey to recipients of funding through the Small Business Workforce Support Program starting on April 24, 2017.

The survey will gather feedback to help shape continued supports for small businesses across the region.

For more information contact 1-855-WB-ECDEV (1-855-923-2338).


Business licence holders to receive courtesy call from RMWB PULSE Line

(Fort McMurray, AB – April 13, 2017) – The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo PULSE Line is reaching out to the holders of business licences within the region to have a brief discussion regarding general business licencing information.

Any person who has held a business licence in 2015/2016 can expect to receive a courtesy call from the PULSE Line, which will appear on your call display as 780-743-3855.

Please know this call is intended as a courtesy and a reminder to businesses about our new licensing system and is not a cause for concern.

You can find more information online at www.rmwb.ca/businesslicensing.

If you have further questions you can call the PULSE Line at 780-743-7000 or reach out to Economic Development by email at economic.development@rmwb.ca.


RMWB recognized for excellence in economic development

(Fort McMurray, AB – March 31, 2017) – The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) Economic Development Branch has been awarded the Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) President’s Award, which recognizes those who have made an outstanding contribution to the economic development profession.

This award highlights the success and “unprecedented action that was taken to respond to the crisis facing local businesses and the economy” in the aftermath of the 2016 Horse River Wildfire.

“The local business owners and entrepreneurs in this community are incredible. They have continued to show their strength and resilience in overcoming the many challenges of recovery and this award is a reflection of their dedication to getting back to business,” said Amanda Haitas, Manager, Economic Development. “We are proud to bring this award home to share it with our partners in the business community.”

The award was presented on March 23, 2017 in Banff at the EDA annual conference.

EDA Award - Amanda Haitas


Small Business Workforce Support Program Data Analysis Report now available

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(Fort McMurray, AB – March 30, 2017) – Data analysis of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Small Business Workforce Support Program is now available.

The report has been shared with key stakeholders and can be read in full here.

The program was designed to support small business employers in the region by providing timely financial assistance to offset costs related to attracting, hiring, and keeping employees.


Insurance. Recovery. Support. to provide face-to-face insurance guidance for residents and business
owners through Back to Business Resource Centre

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(Fort McMurray, AB – March 7, 2017) – Representatives from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) are returning to the community to help residents and business owners better understand their insurance policies and to help them navigate the next steps in the process.

“We’re hearing from people that insurance seems to be one of the biggest aspects of recovery for individuals and business owners. We want to address that,” said Marty Giles, Chair of the Economy Sub-Committee of the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee (WBRC). “By bringing these experts back into our community on a regular basis people will have the chance to sit down, figure things out and know where they go from here.”

IBC representatives will be holding one-hour one-on-one sessions with policy holders bi-weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays, beginning March 15-16, March 29-30 and April 12-13. These appointments will coincide with the bi-weekly Here for You public information sessions being held at the McMurray Experience every second Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Residents can book an appointment by searching for Insurance. Recovery. Support. at Eventbrite.ca or by calling the PULSE Line at 780-743-7000.

Following the appointment, residents and business owners will have access to additional support at the Back to Business Resource Centre from representatives from the Recovery Task Force. The Canadian Red Cross has also committed to having case workers on-site for immediate referrals.

It is important to remember that IBC is not a regulator and cannot direct an insurance provider to action a request. IBC can, however, answer general insurance questions, offer guidance on next steps, educate consumers, advise of options and help people get in touch with their insurer or insurer ombudsperson.

To ask questions about this program call the PULSE Line at 780-743-7000 or send an email to recovery@rmwb.ca.


Learning Events and Programs at the Back to Business Resource Centre

If you are a business owner and looking to expand your knowledge base or acquire new skills to apply to your business. Check out our Back to Business Resource Centre page by clicking here and learn more about the events and programs we are offering to local business owners and entrepreneurs by clicking on our Events Calendar.

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 Expired RMWB Business Licenses

The new RMWB Business License system is up and running for both licenses and permits, please be advised license processing takes from 5 to 7 business days.  If you have specific questions please send an email to business.licensing@rmwb.ca.

Click here to apply for Business Licenses and/or permits online.  The E-Permitting system is most compatible with Internet Explorer or Firefox (do not use Google Chrome).

Please visit our FAQ section for additional information and answer to questions regarding the Emergency Relief Funding for Small Businesses.