Today, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is announcing funding for residents who self-evacuated by road and for small businesses affected by evacuation orders in the territory.
The Evacuation Travel Support Program is available to NWT residents who, by order, evacuated their home community because of the 2023 wildfires. Eligible individuals who evacuated by vehicle will be provided with a one-time direct deposit as follows:
- $750 per vehicle evacuated to a southern jurisdiction; or
- $400 per vehicle evacuated within the NWT
Evacuees who left by road but need to return by air will be eligible to register for organized re-entry flights paid for by the GNWT. Details on how to register will come at a later date as re-entry planning progresses.
Other existing programs and supports continue to be updated to respond to the current needs of residents. This includes:
- ensuring that anyone registered at an evacuation centre and seeking accommodation will have their accommodation costs funded even if no spaces were initially available; and
- modifying eligibility for the Employment Income Disruption Support program to ensure self-employed and small businesses owners will be eligible
In addition to this funding for residents, the Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) Policy has been expanded to allow for contributions of up to $5,000 to offset operational costs incurred by wildfire-affected businesses. Applications for costs incurred from May 2023 onward will be accepted and must be supported by receipts or equivalent proof.
Businesses that have already received funding for wildfire relief under the SEED Policy can receive up to the $5,000 funding limit if they can continue to meet the program criteria required. These supports are temporary additions to SEED and will be accessible until March 31, 2024.
“Many are anxious about returning home. This week, we introduced several measures to help residents access basic needs during the evacuation. We're committed to assisting everyone in returning home safely, and the Evacuation Travel Support Program will support residents who self-evacuated by car to pay for their return when the time comes. Additionally, we're offering support to affected businesses. We understand that many businesses are trying to support their workers as best they can during difficult times or want to ensure they can quickly bring them back as soon as the emergencies have passed. While I recognize that this funding does not cover all potential gaps experienced by residents, I hope that it will provide some comfort during these uncertain times.”
- Caroline Wawzonek, Minister of Finance and Industry, Tourism and Investment
- Details on how to apply for the Evacuation Travel Support Program and expanded SEED funding will be available next week.
- Existing Income Assistance clients have been provided emergency funds of $500 or $1,000 for clients with dependents.
- The GNWT also offers the Evacuee Income Disruption Support Program to assist NWT residents 17 and over who have lost employment income due to extended evacuation periods.
For media requests, please contact:
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Department of Finance
Strategic Advisor, Public Affairs and Communications
Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories