Cars leave Yellowknife for safety on August 16, 2023. Photo: Samantha Stuart
You’ll get $750 from the GNWT if you drove from the NWT to a southern jurisdiction under an evacuation order, and $400 if you drove elsewhere in the NWT.
That’s according to an NWT government news release on Friday evening.
The territory had been under pressure for days to offer some additional funding to people who followed the advice of the NWT and Alberta governments by driving away from their home communities and arranging their own accommodation in Alberta.
The sums are per vehicle, not per person, meaning you only get one $750 payment no matter how many people joined you for the ride.
Details about how to register for the payment were not immediately available but will be provided next week, the GNWT stated.
The territory also said 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,” with registration to follow at a later date.
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.”
“Applications for costs incurred from May 2023 onward will be accepted and must be supported by receipts or equivalent proof,” the GNWT stated.
That funding will be available until the end of March next year.
In a written statement, finance minister Caroline Wawzonek said the payments to people who drove to safety “will support residents who self-evacuated by car to pay for their return when the time comes.”
“While I recognize that this funding does not cover all potential gaps experienced by residents,” she wrote, “I hope that it will provide some comfort during these uncertain times.”
In a press conference, Wawzonek acknowledged the funding was not necessarily “answering all the challenges” raised by residents in need, but said the new program represented her government trying.