Wood Buffalo Economic Development

FAQ

Q: I am a business owner outside of the RMWB, how do i get on “the list” to assist with the rebuild? 

A:  If you are looking to offer your services we encourage you to register your business with the vendor registration page with the RMWB. Please only submit one form per type of offer. If your assistance is required, you will be contacted.

If you are a business owner looking to bid on any quotes, tenders or proposals within the municipality following our recovery efforts we encourage you to visit the Alberta Purchasing Connection. You will be able to register for email alerts if a bid is posted in the category that falls into the goods or services your business provides.

Q: Does the RMWB have a plan for Business and Economic Recovery in Wood Buffalo?

A: Yes. To support Wood Buffalo businesses, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Council approved a Business & Economic Recovery Plan on May 24, 2016. The Plan can be found here.

Q: Is the RMWB working with other stakeholders during the economic recovery?`

A: Yes, collaboration with local stakeholders is imperative to ensure that the needs of the business community are met and that the economic recovery incorporates various non-profit, corporate and government-funded business support organizations.

We are working with:

  • Community Futures
  • Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce
  • NAABA
  • Fort McMurray Construction Association
  • Fort McMurray Tourism Association
  • Urban Development Institute (UDI)
  • Economic Developers of Alberta (EDA)
  • Keyano College
  • Business Link
  • Insurance Bureau of Canada
  • Alberta Labour (Government of Alberta)

Q: There are reports that some businesses may not be re-opening or others who were struggling before the fire who will not be coming back.

A: We recognize that some businesses have not been without their share of challenges, and understand that their decision was a personal choice. We are committed to business in Wood Buffalo, and will work to help business owners going forward.

Q: Where do I go to talk to someone about my business in RMWB?

A: Until May 1, 2017, the Back to Business Resource Centre will be open on the 1st floor at 9816 Hardin Street.

After May 1, 2017, the Business Resource Centre will be open on the second floor of Timberlea Landing, located at 309 Powder Drive.

The transition to a new location and toward a new focus as a Business Resource Centre represents a milestone in recovery. Many businesses are back in operation in some form and have expressed a need for resources to help them maintain and grow their operations. Others in the community have shown interest in starting new businesses in the RMWB.

The Business Resource Centre will offer resources including:

  • One-on-one Ask and Expert sessions
  • Business Support Network events
  • Learning opportunities
  • Connections to Municipal services including the Planning and Development Department and Engineering Department as well as the Economic Development Branch
  • Connections to other local business support organizations
  • Economic Development Officers who can field questions and provide guidance and referrals to business specialists.

The Centre is open from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday located at 309 Powder Drive.

Q: How do I get a business license?

A: All businesses operating within the RMWB require a business license, which is issued to the person who owns the business.  A 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 or call 780-788-1590

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).

Q: All my tax records were destroyed or I don’t have access to them, how do I work with the CRA?

A: The Government of Canada is offering tax relief to Canadians affected by wildfires in north-east Alberta, click here for more information.

Q: Is there a resource to provide mentorship to business owners or is it possible to consult with businesses that have experienced disasters in other communities?

A: The Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce has offered access to their Business to Business mentorship program – in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce in Calgary, Slave Lake and High River – drawing from their experiences during disaster recovery. They will partner similar businesses to work with each other. Please contact the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce for more details.

Additionally, Business Link is Alberta’s entrepreneurial hub.  They are a non-profit organization that helps Alberta entrepreneurs start their own businesses.  Advisors are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time at 1-800-272-9675 or online.

Business Link may be able to assist business owners in the following areas:

  • General business information
  • Regulatory information
  • Business registration questions
  • Basic business plan reviews
  • Some market research
  • Inexpensive ($20 per 30 minutes) access to personalized meeting with lawyers, accountants, and marketing experts

Q: I am self-employed I can’t work right now and I don’t qualify for Employment Insurance what financial support is there?  Are there any government financial support programs specifically in place for business owners?

A: We encourage business owners to contact their insurance provider and bank for financial assistance.  Information on the programs currently in place for residents and tips that may help you are:

  • The Red Cross is making direct financial deposits to individuals and families affected to help respond to the immediate needs of evacuees. Please click here for more information.
  • Some banks have established financial relief for mortgages, vehicle and business loans or extending existing lines of credit. Please contact your bank to determine what options are available to you.
  • Please read over your lease to see if you have to pay rent under these circumstances.
  • Contact Alberta Treasury Branch at 1-855-951-4912 to speak with an ATB Business Expert.
  • Make sure all of your employees have applied for Employment Insurance learn more by clicking here.
  • Information on a Work-Sharing program is available here.

Please keep checking the Government of Alberta website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

This page was updated April 24, 2017.