Wood Buffalo Economic Development

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Small Business Support – Launches TODAY!

Fort McMurray, Alta., Oct. 19, 2016 – Recognizing that small businesses are critical to the recovery of communities affected by the Alberta wildfires, the Canadian Red Cross and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) have launched a joint application for small businesses needing financial support.

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Small Business Week: October 17-20!

We are so excited to once again be a part of the Small Business Week hosted by the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce. There are some fantastic speakers, amazing events and networking galore! Be sure to sign up today as spots will fill quickly – be sure to check them all out!

You can sign up through the YMM Chamber of Commerce website or by visiting our events calendar.

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Coffee with Insurance Bureau of Canada: A Presentation on “The Basics of Business Interruption Coverage”

Join us October 13 from 9am to 10am at the Back to Business Resource Centre and learn about managing your business insurance claim. This is a free event to attend and space is limited.

RSVP here 

Coffee with IBC Website

Summary of Red Cross Support to Small Businesses Program (as of September 9, 2016)

Up to $20,000 per eligible business

Eligible small business owners, sole proprietors, and trades people in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo could receive modest financial support of up to $20,000 in a phased approach. This could assist with things such as uninsured losses; deductibles; minor repairs; clean-up; equipment; and occupational training expenses.


Phase 1: Emergency Financial Support of $1,000 provided to registered and eligible business owners who registered through the Wood Buffalo Business Recovery Hotline by August 12, 2016.
Phase 1 ended as of August 12, 2016 and is no longer available to apply for.

Phase 2: Financial assistance up to $8,000 to eligible businesses.
The determination of the amount provided to eligible businesses will be based on need and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Further details regarding how businesses may be eligible to apply are in the process of being finalized and will be shared by early Fall. Please note, that small businesses that did not apply for Phase 1 will still be considered on a case-by-case basis for Phase 2 when launched.

Phase 3: Financial assistance up to $11,000
Businesses receiving financial assistance within Phase 2 could receive further financial assistance for occupational training and additional requirements, to be determined as outlined below.

Eligibility and allocation of funds
Eligibility and the amount of financial assistance provided will be determined on a case-by-case basis following careful assessment of each application and accompanying supporting documentation. The amount of money provided to each recipient within each phase will be a portion of the eligible costs incurred after May 3, 2016, up to the above mentioned maximums.

For current information: www.redcross.ca/AlbertaFiresBusiness.
Please check the website for updates. Eligibility criteria will be posted soon.

Additional Funding for Businesses Coming!

Supporting small businesses in obtaining financial assistance during the wildfire recovery process is a priority, as identified in the Wood Buffalo Economic Development Business and Economic Recovery Plan approved by Council on May 25, 2016.

On August 2, Council approved a $15 million contribution for a program to support small businesses. The program is a Small Business Workforce Support Program. This program will provide support to small business employers as they are critical to job creation and workforce development in our region.

This financial support will assist employers with activities such as employee attraction and retention, education and training, and employee costs accrued during the evacuation. Wood Buffalo Economic Development is currently in the process of developing the program details that will be released in October 2016. Stay tuned for more information.

Wood Buffalo Economic Development Invites Residents to the YMM Home Show; Announces Rex Murphy as Keynote Speaker

ymm_home_show_thum(Fort McMurray, AB – August 8, 2016) – Wood Buffalo Economic Development invites residents to attend the YMM Home Show at MacDonald Island Park on Saturday, August 20 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The YMM Home Show is a direct response to the May wildfires that affected approximately 2,000structures and impacted almost 3,900businesses.

The event will showcase over 100 businesses that will offer residents rebuilding, renovating, decorating and landscaping products and services, and is free for all residents to attend.

“The YMM Home Show will be a fantastic opportunity to bring local businesses and residents together over the common goal to rebuild our community,” said Melissa Blake, Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. “The YMM Home Show will assist local businesses in obtaining work and provide residents with greater access to local products and services available to assist in a healthy rebuild.”

The YMM Home Show will include engagements from keynote speaker, Rex Murphy, a long-time advocate and supporter of the region. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear Murphy address the community and share his thoughts on the region’s rebuilding and recovery initiatives. His deep insight into the issues affecting individuals and businesses will provide informative and entertaining commentary to show attendees. For more information on Rex Murphy and his career visit the National Speakers Bureau website.

In addition to vendor booths, the YMM Home Show will also host free educational sessions to inform and engage residents and local business owners. The schedule for these sessions will be available at the event. Breakout sessions topics will include:

  • Things You Should Know When Hiring a Contractor – Making Informed Decisions
  • Legal – Know Your Rights
  • Home Décor – The latest trends in home décor
  • New Provincial Enhanced Builder Requirements
  • Panel Discussion: “Your Community in Recovery”

The YMM Home Show has been made possible thanks to financial support from the Government of Alberta. Wood Buffalo Economic Development is hosting the show in partnership with

  • Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association (NAABA)
  • Fort McMurray Construction Association (FMCA)
  • Fort McMurray Tourism
  • Urban Development Institute
  • Community Futures Wood Buffalo
  • Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce

For more information on the YMM Home Show, please visit choosewoodbuffalo.ca.


Media inquiries:


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.

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Welcome Walks

Our team has been hitting the streets to welcome business back to Wood Buffalo. You will spot us around town come up and say hello! You won’t miss us in our bright pink shirts! Follow us on social media to see where we are #welcomewalks

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Expired RMWB Business Licenses

Please be advised the RMWB is aware many business licenses have expired since the mandatory evacuation. This will not restrict you from accessing the emergency relief funds available to your business. 

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.