Quality of life through economic opportunities

Welcome to the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce

 Frequently Asked Questions


1. What businesses are currently open in Fort McMurray?

Our Business Re-Opening Schedule lists businesses, their planned re-opening dates and their hours of operation.  To have your business included on this list please fill out our survey.


2. How does my business get involved in the clean up and rebuild of Fort McMurray after the recent wildfire?

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has an Offer of Resources form and online vendor registration.  Please use these resources to register your company. 


Besides advocating for the priority of local businesses, the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce is not involved in the procurement process. 


3. How do I register a complaint against a business?

Please contact the Better Business Bureau. The Chamber is not able to follow up on complaints about a particular business. 



Municipality Launches Updated Business License Renewal Process

 


(Fort McMurray, AB - June 20, 2016) - The Municipality is pleased to announce all Business Licenses will be managed through a state of the art electronic licensing system, effective immediately.

 

As a result of the wildfires and the business licenses switching to the new system, all existing business owners will not receive an annual invoice this year. Current business owners will be contacted by mail with instructions on when and how they can obtain a new license. Furthermore, the Municipality will be extending this year's expiry date by three months - to the end of September 2016 - to provide business owners adequate time to reapply for their business license.


 Below are additional details of the licensing process: 

  • New licenses will be created for all businesses, meaning each business will have a new license number and annual expiry date, which is based on when the particular license is issued;
  • Licenses that have been issued for 2016 will be valid for one year from the date of issuance; and 
  • Payments can be submitted through the online licensing system or at the Planning and Development Office, located in Timberlea. Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT) are not accepted.

For more information about the new business licensing process, please visit
rmwb.ca/businesslicensing or contact Planning and Development Business Licensing at business.licensing@rmwb.ca or call 780-788-1590.


Business Recovery Hotline

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo's Business Recovery Hotline is a vital link for local business

24-hour, toll-free number provides information, identifies needs of local business owners


(Fort McMurray, May 31, 2016) - Businesses in the Fort McMurray area were equally impacted by the fires and subsequent evacuation, and they now have a key resource to assist them with their return to the region.

 

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo with the support of Economic Developers Alberta and the Canadian Red Cross has launched a hotline that will operate 24 hours a day; seven days a week for the first two weeks.  Called the Business Recovery Hotline, it is designed to provide business owners access to information resources. It also helps them to identify what their needs are to get their businesses operational after the devastating fire.

 

"We're committed to business in Wood Buffalo. Our businesses are the backbone of the region. They are critical economic drivers of our community, providing residents with vital goods, services and - above all - jobs," said Melissa Blake, mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. "Our business owners are highly resilient, but we want to ensure that they access to the necessary tools and resources to help them as we move forward."

 

The number, 855-RMWB BIZ (855-769-2249), will provide updates for business and link them to local resources that will assist them with issues or concerns. The hotline will also be the point of entry for business owners to complete a business recovery survey that will distinguish the business community's distinct short and long-term needs.

 

"The Canadian Red Cross is proud to support the Business Recovery Hotline," said Jenn McManus, vice president of Alberta operations for the Canadian Red Cross. "Businesses are vital to all regions impacted by the wildfires, and this hotline will help identify the most pressing needs of business owners as they re-enter and re-establish in their communities."


Additional Business Resources


Business Link

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 at businesslink.ca.

Small businesses affected by the wildfires are encouraged to access advisory services through The Business Link.

Advisers can provide information, answer questions, direct businesses to resources and connect them to experts who can help.

Below is a short list of the information and help Business Link can provide to business owners, without referring to other organizations:

  • 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


Back to Business Recovery Centre

The Back to Business Recovery Centre is a one-stop shop for businesses returning to get local, municipal, provincial and federal resources to assist with recovery.

The centre will include a shared working space, office supplies and will connect business owners to service providers who can assist them during the recovery process. We anticipate businesses will require assistance in the following areas:: insurance, legal, financing, business planning, human resource planning, and mental health. We plan to continuously expand and assess the services offered as we learn the needs of the business community.

Our goal is to be operational by early June, and we are working hard to confirm resources and details to release to the public shortly. Please check www.choosewoodbuffalo.ca for the most accurate and up-to-date information.


Pricing in Effect for Accommodations

Message from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

June 2, 2016

Public Notice: April 30 Pricing in Effect for Accommodations

 

(Fort McMurray, AB - June 2, 2016) Effective immediately, the Regional Emergency Operations Centre advises that all hotels, lease properties, work camps and rental accommodation operators must maintain the prices that were in effect on April 30, 2016. This will remain in effect under the Provincial State of Emergency declared on May 4, 2016. Those landlords and property owners that are charging prices above April 30 prices will be investigated and enforcement action will be taken. We will be monitoring this issue closely. We hope that the spirit of goodwill and co-operation associated with the lengthy evacuation will continue as we begin to rebuild our city. Residents with concerns about increases in the cost of services should contact the PULSE line at 1-780-743-7000.

 

Media inquiries:

 

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

 pio@rmwb.ca



Message from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

 

Our re-entry team is working hard to restore essential services to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo so that our residents and businesses can return as soon as possible.
Essential services (hotels, grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, etc.) have been contacted and asked to return to Fort McMurray between the hours of 0600 and 2200 hrs to assess needs to become operational and should report this information to critical.business@rmwb.ca.


Prior to arrival, essential business owners must email the names of every individual entering Fort McMurray to critical.business@rmwb.ca and provide a 24-hour emergency contact (name and phone number).  These names will be checked at entry checkpoints and verified individuals will get a coloured wrist band, which they are required to wear while in the restricted area.

At this time, we are only working with identified essential business to restore essential services.  Before any business can reopen, they will need to be inspected by Environmental Public Health. You can schedule an inspection by calling 1-780-513-7500.

We look forward to welcoming back all remaining businesses as part of the phased re-entry plan beginning on June 1. All remaining businesses are welcome to return on June 1, to restore your operations, regardless of which zone you're located in.


Business Re-Entry Survey


The Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce would like to know your plans for business re-entry. Please complete this survey to let us know when you plan on re-opening your business. We will create a page of resources on our website which will include open businesses and their operating hours.

 

You can complete the survey here.




Letter of Concern


May 20, 2016  


Honourable Danielle Larivee

Minister of Municipal Affairs

Office of the Minister Municipal Affairs

204 Legislature Building 

10800 - 97 Avenue

Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6  


Dear Minister Larivee;


The Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce works to support the needs of business in our region. As such we are contacting you today to discuss serious concerns which we believe are facing our members during the re-entry to our community.


On May 18th we received a tentative schedule for re-entry to our community. This plan has created some concern over the lack of information about business re-entry. Access to businesses will be one of the most important components that must be in place in order for it to be feasible for our residents to return to our region. Access to necessities such as grocery stores, hardware stores, fuel stations etcetera will be vital. In order for these services to be in place we must provide business with access to their facilities. We are asking for your department to disclose a tentative timeline so we can communicate it with business as soon as possible. This will help to ensure our region's businesses and residents are supported in their return.


 We would also like to address concerns surrounding the occupational health and safety conditions which must be met in order to ensure the safe return of employees to the region. Potable water, air quality and accommodation are all necessities which must be in place in order for our businesses to operate. When these essential services and requirements for safe work are not in place how are we to address our employees concerns over a safe work place?


 Finally, there is a necessity for access to operating funds and bridge financing during this time. We must ensure that our local businesses have the necessary funds to operate. Employees will need to be compensated for their work and currently many of our businesses have lost the ability to provide this. Bridge financing and provincial supports for business will be an integral piece of the resources that will be required in our community during the rebuild.


 It has been a difficult and trying sixteen days for the Wood Buffalo Region. Many of our residents have lost their homes, some of our members have lost their businesses and most of our businesses have seen a significant drop if not suspension of their revenue stream. This is a trying time for Wood Buffalo. We believe however that with your support that we will be able to ensure the rebuild and prosperity of our businesses and our region and we thank you in advance for your consideration.


Kind Regards,  


Bryce Kumka

President of the Board

Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce




Supporting Local Business


The Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce supports local businesses. We will continue to advocate for our members during this time and we will continue to support the use of local businesses during the rebuild of our community.


 Support for Bridge Financing  


The Chamber supports the initiative from the Fort McMurray Construction Association calling for the immediate creation of a program from the provincial government to provide bridge financing to businesses of the Wood Buffalo region. The letter, which was sent to Premier Rachel Notley, can be found below.  FMCA call for Bridge Financng Support for Business 


 BDC Support for Business


The Business Development Bank o Canada has announced that it is offering immediate payment relief to clients. They will be waiving principle and interest payments for the next three months! News Release


78th Annual Provincial Conference & Policy Session  

 

The Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce attended the Alberta Chambers of Commerce Annual General Meeting and Plenary Session in Red Deer on May 13 & 14. The conference provided your Chamber with the opportunity to meet with representatives from Calgary, High River and Slave Lake to discuss their experiences with natural disasters. Chamber Executive Director, Alexis Foster, presented a late resolution to the delegation regarding the Alberta budget cuts to wildfire management. The policy to reinstate the wildfire management budget was passed without objection.  


Business Help Form


 Community Futures Wood Buffalo has developed a business help form to assess current business needs. The form is for any Fort McMurray business owners who are looking for assistance or advice on topics such as insurance, bridge financing, HR/payroll, etc.This information is being collected by Community Futures Wood Buffalo for the Business Triage Database and will be used to help support your business sustainability. The form can be found here.









Relief and Rebuild Services


The Chamber supports the use of local businesses wherever possible. We support Council in their communications with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and the Emergency Management Department about the importance of using local contractors and businesses. If you would like to support rebuild efforts please complete the form below.


Offer of Resources form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1E3lFMdGI2WozqeTJVUwLXVHDXWmFNbv02ZKx1sF0k_w/viewform 


Procurement Process During an Emergency (provided by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo)

  1. The province process starts with the first call for any good or service requirement to a local vendor and/or a vendor with which we have an existing standing offer agreement.(SOA)  
  2. We will only call an out of town vendor in the case where the local vendor is not available to do the work, or he/she cannot complete the work according to our specific schedule. We have been challenged finding local vendors in town as a result of the evacuation order.  
  3. We have asked IT to develop a database that will allow vendors to register their company's information during the evacuation period, in addition to the use of our municipal vendor registry database. They recently completed this database, please share the link with your members as follows:   https://apps2.rmwb.ca/VendorRegistry/Account/Login?ReturnUrl=%2FVendorRegistry%2FVendors%2FDetails%2F385  
  4. As well, vendors are encouraged to send in their company information to our central email address, logisticscantf2@gmail.com. All local vendors that have offered their services by way of this mailbox are called when needs for their products or services arise.


Business News Network


Our Board President, Bryce Kumka, speaks to BNN on what the Chamber is doing to support local business. Read the article here.



Employee Communications 


Ongoing communications with employees is critical at this time. We would like to encourage all businesses to connect with their employees to ensure they are receiving necessary information as it becomes available.


Some important information that you may wish to share:


  • Will your company be providing wage continuance to your employees at this time? If you are unable to provide wage continuance, employers will be required to provide a Record of Employment (ROE) so employees can apply for Employment Insurance.  Employers can complete an ROE here. The Employment Insurance application and additional information can be accessed here.
  • Ensure that they have registered with the Red Cross. They can register here  
    • Updates on financial resources available to evacuees. The Red Cross is providing:
      • $600 for each eligible adult, $300 per child will be provided to registered evacuees
      • The funds will be distributed through an electronic funds transfers (EFT), and by using the information provided by evacuees when registering (alternatively money orders, cash cards or vouchers may be leveraged if an EFT is not an option for an individual)
      • The e-transfers of funds will be starting today and may take 24-48 hours to be received.


The Government of Alberta is providing:

  • $1,250 for each eligible adult, $500 for each dependent child under 18
  • One debit card will be issued for each household and will be pre-loaded with the total amount that all members of the household are eligible to receive
  • Red Cross registration is required first and can be done through www.redcross.ca or by phoning 1-888-350-6070.


  • Available mental health resources, such as the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 or Health Link at 811
  • Work timelines and other updates as you receive them. Everyone is excited to get back into our community and to help rebuild. As your organization gains information regarding the re-entry process please share this information with your employees. The more informed a person is the more engaged they will be.





 A Message from the Regional Emergency Operations Centre 


The Regional Emergency Operations Centre has been inundated with an enormous number of offers for resources and assistance. We are hugely appreciative of these offers and are working to develop a system to make good on them.  


To help, we've developed a "offer of resources" form that allows us to better understand what is being offered. You can help by filling out the attached form, provided in the link below. We'll then assess this information, identify resources needed, and use the information to help coordinate allocation of these resources.


Offer of Resources form


We appreciate your patience while we work through this tremendous outpouring of support. Please only submit one form per type of offer - if we require your assistance you will be contacted.  


With Heartfelt Thanks, REOC




Fort McMurray Wildfire Update


May 10, 2016 - It has been a week since the Fort McMurray wildfire forced a mandatory evacuation of our community. The Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce has set-up a temporary office at the Leduc Regional Chamber for the interim and we will be continuing to operate as best as possible during this time.
The Chamber understands that this is a difficult time for many of our members. As such we  would like to encourage business owners to contact us if they are looking for assistance. We will continue to send out up-to-date information throughout the upcoming weeks.


 The Fort McMurray Chamber is working closely with the Alberta Chambers, Canadian Chambers, multiple levels of government and community partners to provide you with pertinent information as it becomes available to us. We will be attending the Alberta Chambers of Commerce in Red Deer this weekend and we will be advocating on behalf of our membership.


 We will continue to work closely with Chambers which have experienced similar situations in the past to provide a network for our members where you can access advice and ask questions from businesses who have underwent similar problems due to a natural disaster.   Inquiries about when and how you can get back into the region can be answered by contacting the Provincial Operations Center (POC) at 1-866-618-2362. http://www.aema.alberta.ca/provinicial-operations-centre


Office Space
 
Is your business looking for temporary office space? The Fort McMurray Chamber has received numerous offers of office space to extend to our membership. If you are looking for temporary office space please email Alexis at afoster@fortmcmurraychamber.ca


Insurance
 
We would like to encourage all members to reach out to your insurance provider as soon as possible.

Chambers Plan


Chambers Plan Prairie Region and all our affiliates send heartfelt thoughts to everyone affected by the devastating fires in the Fort McMurray area. Our deepest sympathy to all those affected.  

Through our Business Assistance Service (BAS), which is included in every Plan, the provider ArÍte has put their entire network of counsellors on standby to support our clients affected by this overwhelming situation. The Fort McMurray fire will affect more than just physical property. Residents and even those living outside the danger area can be affected by fear, anxiety, a sense of loss and uncertainty.  


ArÍte's professional counsellors can assist clients with working through immediate and longer term concerns. Toll free: 877-412-7483 877-922-8646

 

2016 Schedule of Events