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Feds kick in $5.5 million to help B.C. mitigate economic effects of disasters

Funds given to Community Futures British Columbia to distribute to small business and non-profits
Wendy McCulloch (third from the left), Executive Director of Community Futures British Columbia, and Naina Sloan (third from the right), Vice President of programs and partners with the Pacific Economic Development Canada, with representatives of the communities receiving a portion of the funding. (Zachary Delaney)

B.C. small businesses and non-profts have been handed a fresh pot of money to help plan and prepare for the economic effects of climate change.

Hundreds of delegates from Community Futures British Columbia (CFBC) converged on Revelstoke today to hear the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan) announce more than $5.5 million in new funding for disaster recovery and economic adjustment for areas affected by floods and wildfires.

“The PacifiCan funding announced today ensures that Community Futures British Columbia can equip businesses with the tools they need to recover from recent disasters, build resiliency, and prepare themselves to address climate challenges well into the future,” said Harjit S. Sajjan, minister of international development and minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada.

The funding is aimed at helping CFBC with its goal of helping rural and remote communities with disaster recovery and aid smaller communities adapt to a competitive global economy.

The money can be used in several different ways by the communities receiving it.

According to a media release, funds can be used to help small businesses and communities access program ambassadors who can provide expertise on disaster planning. It should also help provide skills and strategies to restore operations, mitigate impacts of future disasters, and compete effectively in the global marketplace. It is expected to help an estimated 900 businesses and help maintain 4,500 jobs.

Recipients will also have access to online workshops, customized training for specialized businesses, and peer mentoring—all with the aim of better equipping the local economies to handle a competitive global market, while insulating themselves from the growing effects of climate change.

The communities eligible to receive a portion of the funding are comprised of regions within the CFBC network, including Nicola Valley, Sun Country, South Fraser, North Fraser, Okanagan Similkameen, Thompson Country, Central Interior First Nations, Cariboo-Chilcotin, North Cariboo, Fraser Fort George, Peace Liard, Stuart Nechako, Nadina, 16/37, Pacific Northwest, and Haida Gwaii.

The new funds are in addition to the Government of Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy, which sets out to help communities in Canada insulate against the growing effects of change, which includes more natural disasters like floods and fires.

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