Yellowknife on August 17, 2023. Emma Stuart-Kiss/Cabin Radio
Supports continue to emerge as more than 60 percent of the Northwest Territories population has been displaced by wildfires.
Fort Smith, Hay River, Kátł’odeeche First Nation, Enterprise, Kakisa, Yellowknife, Ndılǫ and Dettah all remain under evacuation orders. Officials say it remains unsafe to return to any of the communities.
On this page is a list of information and resources for evacuees related to financial assistance, healthcare, recreation, and other supports. This list is not exhaustive. If you know of a resource we’re missing, email our team to let us know.
Evacuees can register with the Canadian Red Cross at the Expo Centre, by calling 1-800-863-6582 or online.
Financial support and donations
United Way NWT is accepting donations for evacuees. The non-profit says organizations based in the territory or in the south as well as Indigenous and community governments assisting NWT residents under evacuation orders are eligible to apply for funding. The funds are for urgent essential needs not being covered by other organizations. United Way NWT says it is promptly processing funding requests received on its website.
The NWT government has opened applications for its evacuee travel support program. It is providing $750 per vehicle to residents who self-evacuated by road outside the territory and $400 per vehicle to those who self-evacuated elsewhere within the NWT.
Some regular MLAs have advocated for that program to be expanded to evacuees who paid for their own commercial flights and called for funding to be increased. The territorial government has not currently committed to expanding financial supports for NWT evacuees.
There’s also an expanded Seed program – Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development – allowing up to $5,000 to “offset operational costs incurred by wildfire-affected businesses.” Details on how to apply will be available in the coming days.
The NWT’s Evacuee Income Disruption Support program provides a one-time payment of $750 to residents aged 17 years and older whose employment has been disrupted by an evacuation order lasting more than seven days.
The Department of Finance says it takes about a week from the time they get an application to when they’re able to send payment, but they are actively working on ways to speed up the process.
The North Slave Métis Alliance is providing $500 per member to those affected by wildfire evacuations. Those eligible are asked to contact email@example.com and provide banking information for direct deposit.
The Yellowknives Dene First Nation says it is providing $500 per vehicle and 200 litres of fuel for members travelling south. It is advising members to keep their receipts.
Starting August 31, the First Nation said it would be distributing a second round of emergency funding in Edmonton to eligible members who were affected by evacuation orders.
The Gwich’in Tribal Council is offering evacuation assistance to Gwich’in participants living in Fort Smith, Hay River, Yellowknife, Ndılǫ, Dettah and Enterprise in NWT and Old Crow and Mayo in Yukon. More information can be found on the GTC’s Facebook page.
The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation is providing $1,000 in relief support to Inuvialuit Beneficiary households affected by evacuation orders. This money will be direct deposited to families within the next few days. If your banking information has changed or you don’t have direct deposit set up, contact the IRC.
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.is offering assistance to Nunavut Inuit affected by evacuation orders in the form of a one-time payment of $1,000 per household.
Kátł’odeeche First Nation says it will be distributing emergency funds to band members that have evacuated from the First Nation, Hay River, Fort Smith and Yellowknife. More information can be found on Facebook.
The Délı̨nę Got’įnę Government says it is providing one-time assistance to beneficiary members who have had to evacuate and those who have been stranded in Edmonton due to medical travel.
The Tłı̨chǫ Governmentsays it is providing a one-time payment of $500 per adult and $125 per dependent to Tłı̨chǫ citizens who have evacuated from Fort Smith, Hay River, Kátł’odeeche First Nation, Enterprise and Jean Marie River. Accommodations and other assistance will be provided on an as-needed basis.
Tłı̨chǫ evacuees from Yellowknife, Ndılǫ and Dettah who are staying with family and friends in the south or a Tłı̨chǫ community their billet host can receive $250 flat rate per household.
The Northern Mosaic Network says it will be providing funding to 2SLGBTQIPA+, Black, Indigenous, People of the Global Majority, low income, and disabled community members. It says one-time payments of $500 for individuals and $1,000 for families are available.
The Northern Birthwork Collective says it is supporting pregnant and postpartum NWT evacuees by distributing $250 gift cards to 140 eligible applicants.
The Alberta Teachers’ Association is working with the NWT Teachers’ Association to arrange emergency billets at locations across Alberta for NWTAA members and their families who have been displaced. For more information, visit www.teachers.ab or, to request accommodation, go directly to https://teachers.ab.ca/request-emergency-assistance.
Student financial assistance staff are working remotely to ensure applications and payments continue to be processed. To receive payments, students must submit the following to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to 1-800-661-0893.
Form D – Student Enrolment Form
Form E – Payment and Financial Transaction Authorization Form (for new students or if your banking information has changed)
An official copy of your transcript
An Instagram page has been created to connect individuals to financial support. (Cabin Radio has not verified the legitimacy of this page.)
Minister Caroline Wawzonek says that the Insurance Bureau of Canada – an association that represents Canadian home, auto and business insurance companies – reached out to say that damage to homes from wildfire is covered under all standard home insurance policies. “Most home and tenant insurance policies also include coverage for additional living expenses (ALE) to cover the cost of hotel/lodging and other living expenses like food and laundry if you are unable to return to your home due to wildfire or a mandatory evacuation order. They said constituents can reach IBC’s CIC at: 1-844-277-5422 or email@example.com,” Wawzonek wrote on Facebook.
From insurance broker Hub International: “We are here for [Yellowknife residents] and will be working with them in collaboration with the insurance companies if there is loss. Our Yellowknife office is closed now as the staff have now evacuated but our main number is forwarded to our other offices to answer questions. They can still call (867) 873-6398.”
The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority has launched a wildfire health services updates page with the latest information on available services and supports. Residents can also call 811 in the NWT or 1-844-259-1793 outside the territory for health information or general information on evacuation.
Indigenous evacuees from the NWT in Alberta, BC, and Manitoba are eligible for several services and supports.
Call 604-875-4953 for information on receiving health care in BC.
BC has set up a family support line at 1-844-824-2219 with information for families of in-patients from Stanton Territorial Hospital who were moved to the province. It is available Monday to Friday from 7am to 7pm Pacific Time, and from 8am to 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays. If you are having trouble dialing toll-free you can call 604-875-4953.
Alberta Health Services has a family reunification line for anyone with a loved one being cared for in a bedded facility in the province. You can call 811 anytime or the health link emergency events line at 1-844-944-3434 from 8am to 11:30pm.
Alberta Blue Cross members in need of pharmacy services or prescription drug coverage who are unable to provide their ID card can contact 780-498-8370 in Edmonton and nearby areas, 403-294-4041 in Calgary and nearby areas, and 1-800-361-9632 toll free. If you need an early prescription refill for evacuation-related reasons, use the early refill intervention code “UF.”
The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority has an online form to request prescription refills. If you are not able to make an online request you can call or text 867-447-0169 with your first and last name, date of birth, name of the prescription, and the name and phone number of the pharmacy where you plan to pick up the prescription.
Prescription info for Fort Smith: “We are now up and running and able to do transfers! Please have the pharmacy you wish to fill your medications call Wally’s Drug’s new contact number to request a transfer: 1-877-544-5521 extension 6. Disregard the message when dialling this number. Following the above will get you directly to Josée and will allow you to leave a message if she cant pick-up.
“The previous number still works: 1-204-775-9092. Josée will be happy to help you to the best of her ability. Your insurance info that we have on file will be transferred along with the medications.”
Prescription info for Hay River: When you require a refill, give the pharmacy of your choice Ring’s IDA pharmacy emergency number 867-686-8477. A remote pharmacist is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm and on Saturdays from 9am to 2pm.
Prescription info for Yellowknife:
YK Co-op can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
The Medicine Shoppe can be reached at email@example.com or on Facebook. Staff are also checking their regular phone once daily as long as it is operational at 867-920-7775.
The Wal-Mart Pharmacy can be reached at 1-833-768-1146.
Sutherland Drugs can be reached at 867-446-2563, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook. Their regular number 867-873-4555 is still being monitored.
For information about prescriptions with the Yellowknife Shoppers Drug Mart, residents are told to contact another location or call a pharmacy of their choice. Pharamcists in Alberta have prescription authority. Contact email@example.com for more informaiton.
NWT evacuees in Alberta who are expected for assessment or treatment for a cancer diagnosis can call the cancer transition team at 1-888-432-8865
The Doula Services Association of BC says many midwifery clinics in the province are offering to see pregnant people and those up to six weeks postpartum.
“Being evacuated from your home community is stressful. Checking in with a mental health and counselling resource can help provide strategies, advice, and resources to deal with this difficult situation.”
Rhodes Wellness College is offering free counselling sessions, available over Zoom, to those affected by wildfire evacuations. It says counselling students “can provide help to those who are struggling due to the anxieties, pressures and stress that can come from relocation and loss.” You can find more information here.
Evacuees in Calgary who need clothing, hygiene products, toys or books can visit the drop-in free goods program’s donation centre at 3650 11A St NE.
In Peace River, Steph Woodworth said Blue Star Thrift Store is providing free clothing to evacuees. “You have to let them know at the checkout you are an NWT evacuee and they will give you a short form to fill out.”
Lindsey Gebauer says ABC Country restaurant, on the south end of Red Deer, is accepting vouchers – “highly recommended for breakfast/brunch.”
Tivoli Garden Cafe, about 40 minutes southwest of Red Deer, is offering 20 percent off orders including free coffee or soft drinks to anyone with a NWT ID.
IHOP locations in Edmonton are offering 50 percent off for evacuees.
For those at the evacuation centre in Red Deer who want a distraction, there is a car show at Parkland Mall every Thursday until about 8pm.
Bella Dance Academy, which has studios in Edmonton, Calgary, Airdrie, Strathmore and Grand Prairie, is offering free dance classes to evacuees.
The Telus World of Science in Edmonton is offering free admission to all NWT evacuees. They are encouraging people to bring their NWT ID with them to get in, but understand you might not have it in these circumstances.
Louise Sanders in Sherwood Park, Alta., is offering help to horse owners needing pasture.
The Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society is able to help evacuees in Edmonton and Calgary with free kennels, food and whatever else they can help with. They can be contacted at 403-250-7377. Note they are not a boarding facility.
For NWT evacuees in Calgary or Vancouver looking for workspace, WeWork is offering free admission.
GoodLife Fitness says NWT evacuees can keep using its change room facilities, bathrooms, and showers for at least another week in all of its Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, and St Albert gyms. “The clubs will remain available to evacuees through next week, and that timeline will be extended if needed,” the company stated.
The NWT government says evacuees whose general identification cards, driver’s licences and vehicle registrations are expired, about to expire or lost can get a 90-day extension while they are out of the territory due to wildfire evacuation. Evacuees can contact the registrar of motor vehicles firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chamber of Commerce in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, is offering support including work space. Contact email@example.com for more information.
P&D Enterprises in Edmonton is offering free firearms storage up to six months for NWT residents displaced by wildfires.