Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the overland flooding events across British Columbia.
During this difficult time, there are several resources available to business owners to help with managing the day-to-day situation, as well as planning for the rebuild.
Below, we detail answers to some of the most common questions business owners will face.
Please note: Please note, as internet coverage may be inaccessible during this time, we have tried to provide phone numbers where applicable for more information. Information is time sensitive and subject to change.
Q1. Where can I find up to date news on the flooding?
Find up to date news and updates at the following links:
- Current Flooding Information Hub
- River Forecast Centre
- B.C. Emergency Map
- BCEDA Live Resource Document
Q2. Where can I get business advice and counselling?
Canadian Red Cross
Contact the Canadian Red Cross and learn how they can help. They can be reached toll-free at 1-800-888-6493.
Eligible small business owners and not-for-profit organizations who were directly impacted by the floods and extreme weather event, and who meet the minimum requirements may apply for $5,000 in funding. This financial assistance is to provide support for things such as:
- Uninsured direct losses damage, lost equipment or inventory
- Insurance deductibles
- Specialized clean-up costs that might not be eligible under other programs
- Ongoing expenses such as rent for a commercial space or utility costs
Please note: This program is not intended to fund loss of revenue or income. This program cannot duplicate assistance received through other means such as insurance or DFA.
Disaster Financial Assistance
The province has declared a provincial state of emergency and DFA is now available to help those who are severely impacted. Find information about the DFA program at their website. Alternatively, the toll-free phone number is 1-888-257-4777 and email is [email protected].
Confirm the disaster you were involved in is eligible for support from this program. Overland flooding in Vancouver Island, Southwest, Central, and Southeast areas of the province including all First Nation communities, electoral areas, and municipalities within the geographic boundaries of those areas is eligible.
Confirm eligible damage to your small business, home, charitable organization, or farm. Your small business must have less $1 Million in annual gross sales, employ fewer than 50 employees, be managed by the owner on a day-to-day basis, and be the means in which the owner obtains most of their income. Further guidelines can be accessed here.
- Submit your application within 90-days of the disaster being declared eligible. The deadline is February 12, 2022.
- Repairs can begin before your application is approved. Damage can be assessed both before and after it has been repaired. Take photos or videos of the damage and keep all related receipts.
- Access the application form for Small Businesses, Farm Owners, or Charitable Organization
- Access Homeowners or Tenant forms.
- Submit to Emergency Management BC:
- E-mail: [email protected]
- Fax: 250-952-5542
- Mail: DFA / PO Box 9201 Stn. Prov Govt / Victoria B.C. V8W 9J1
You’ll be contacted to discuss your application and damages.
- All applicants will need to submit insurance information.
- Once deemed eligible, a DFA evaluator will contact you to access the damage.
- Once the damage is reviewed, a decision letter will be sent regarding your eligibility for funding.
- If funding is approved, a cheque is sent to your mailing address and a payment letter is sent by mail or email.
Canada Small Business Financing Program
This program offers a “loan guarantee program to secure small business loans against inadvertent non-compliance with payment terms for a range of reasons, including disasters. Assets guaranteed include real property improvements, leasehold improvements, or the purchase of equipment.” For more information, please visit their website or call 1-866-959-1699.
Apply for tax remittance relief from the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) and Provincial Sales Tax (PST) Branch. To apply to have penalties or interest waived, download form RC4288 Request for Taxpayer Relief.
Employment Insurance (EI)
File an application to collect EI benefits. Self-employed individuals that pay into EI and their employees can apply due to a shortage of work or loss of a job.
The Employment Insurance Work Sharing Program offers income support to workers who are willing to work a temporary reduced work week when there is a reduction in business activity beyond the control of the employer (including major disasters). More information available at 1-866-981-5319.
Learn about Bill relief potentially available for commercial and residential BC Hydro customers affected by an evacuation order.
Contact your financial institution to see if they’re offering help to businesses affected by recent flooding events. Below are the phone numbers for some of Canada’s largest financial institutions:
- BMO Bank of Montreal– 1-877-262-5907
- Business Development Bank of Canada– 1-877-232-2269
- Canadian Western Bank– 1-780-423-8888
- CIBC– 1-877-454-9030
- RBC Royal Bank– 1-800-769-2520
- TD Canada Trust– 1-866-222-3456
Agricultural producers can access information on the AgriStability program that protects against declines in net farming income due to production loss, increased costs of production or market conditions. Information for emergency livestock relocation support is also available.
Q3. What organizations are offering help for businesses impacted by flooding?
For up-to-date emergency information about the flooding, please visit the Emergency Info BC website.
Indigenous Communities and local government emergency management resources are also available.
For general information to help businesses prepare or recover from a disaster, please visit Prepared BC.
Small Business BC
At SBBC we support entrepreneurs and small business owners through expert business advisors, educational services, and easy-to-use resources. To speak with an advisor, please call us at 1-800-667-2272 or email [email protected].
Find business coaching and resources for rural business at Community Futures.
Many resources are available through the Red Cross Support Center or their phone line at 1-800-863-6582.
- Guide to Flood Recovery
- Flooding Checklist and Tips
- Substantial Repair and Reconstruction Contract Checklist
B.C. Economic Development Association
BCEDA has a number of resources available to including the Local Economic Recovery & Restart Toolkit and a Live Resource Document with continually updated ESS locations, social media assistance, travel, Red Cross, ICBC, Canada Post and sector-specific resources from BC Agriculture Council and Destination BC.
Contact your insurance provider to discover if your business has coverage for “acts of nature” disaster events such as floods. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) can also provide answers to your insurance questions and can be contacted at 1-844-227-5422.
Q4. How does the flood impact upon my insurance?
Your insurance provider is available to confirm if your business has coverage for “acts of nature” disaster events such as floods. When it’s safe to do so, perform the following steps:
- Assess the damage and take photos/videos of affected rooms, goods, and machinery
- List all damaged or destroyed items
- If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts, and warranties
- Keep all receipts pertaining to cleanup and living expenses
- Call your insurance representative and/or company and don`t forget to ask what living expenses you’re entitled to be reimbursed for
Contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada at 1-844-227-5422 to get answers to your insurance questions.
Q5. What can I do if I don’t agree with my insurance company’s findings?
Once you have reported a loss, a Claims Adjuster from your insurance company will be assigned. This process may take some time given the large number of businesses affected by the wildfires. The Claims Adjuster will investigate the circumstances of the loss, examine the documents you provide and explain the next steps. Your insurance company will ask you to complete a “proof of loss” form, listing what property and/or items have been damaged or destroyed. Should you disagree with the insurance company’s findings, there are several avenues of appeal.
- Raise the issue with management at the insurance company or their internal ombudsman
- The General Insurance OmbudService (GIO) mediates these disagreements and can also be reached at 1-877-225-0446
- Visit the BC Financial Services Authority resource centre or call them at 1-866-206-3030.
Q6. How can I deal with a loss of profits due to the flooding?
Even if the floods don’t directly prevent you doing business, it can have a dramatic effect on your volume of business. The Government of Canada’s Small Business Financing Program and Employment Insurance Work Sharing Program offer short term solutions to cash flow and staving off potential lay-offs. Financial Institutions are another potential avenue to explore for financing (contact numbers for B.C.’s largest institutions are listed earlier in this article).
Q7. How can I get my business up and running quickly after the flooding?
Financial relief and resources are available from many different organizations which are linked throughout this article. Depending on the severity of damage our business suffered, it may be necessary to hire contractors to carry out repairs. The Government of B.C. offers a recourse centre for permits, zoning, and building/fire codes.
Q8. What mental health resources are available to me?
Mental Health Resources
The damage from natural disasters isn’t all physical and in can take a tremendous toll on the mental health of those involved. Learn about the mental health options available to you, or contact the organizations listed below.
- Anywhere in BC 1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433
- Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789
- Kids Help Phone Line: 1-800-668-6868
- Vancouver Coastal Regional Distress Line: 604-872-3311
- Sunshine Coast/Sea to Sky: 1-866-661-3311
- Seniors Distress Line: 604-872-1234
- Online Chat Service for Youth: YouthInBC.com (Noon to 1am)
- Online Chat Service for Adults: CrisisCentreChat.ca (Noon to 1am)
- Aboriginal Crisis Line: 1-800-588-8717
Q9. Are any tax relief measures available to businesses or individuals affected by the B.C. Floods?
In extraordinary circumstances (such as the B.C. Overland Flooding) Canada Revenue Agency may waive penalties or interest on outstanding tax payments.
To apply to have penalties or interest waived, download form RC4288 Request for Taxpayer Relief.
Canada Revenue Agency also offers to expedite taxpayer relief requests. If books or records have been destroyed, call the CRA to inform them of the issue at 1-800-959-5525.