The Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) has launched an online initiative called Here4BC, designed to bring the Canadian construction industry together to support those who have been displaced and lost homes, businesses and much more as a result of B.C.’s ongoing wildfires.
The program is meant to generate awareness of the need to help those impacted and to inspire the Canadian construction industry, including companies, their employees as well as associations to donate a total of $1 million to the Canadian Red Cross British Columbia Fires Appeal by July 31.
"The Red Cross is the ideal organization. They specialize in disaster relief, they have boots on the ground to assist and they already have an appeal fund," said VRCA president Fiona Famulak.
She added that so far more than $30,000 has been raised.
In addition to making financial donations, through www.Here4BC.ca, companies can also show their support by contributing to an online registry of supplies, services and equipment that can be loaned or donated to the relief efforts.
"Associations in the Canadian construction industry play a vital part in motivating and mobilizing their members to support causes like the Canadian Red Cross British Columbia Fires Appeal," said Famulak.
"We’re asking fellow associations across the owner, consultant and contracting communities — residential and non-residential, open and closed-shop — to join the effort to help British Columbians in need."
The website contains information on how companies, their employees and associations can help as well as direct links to donate.
Famulak explained the urgent relief needed due to the escalating wildfires burning in B.C.’s Interior prompted the association to move quickly earlier this month and put the campaign together.
"This is the largest emergency response in B.C. history," said Famulak. "Help is needed immediately."
Famulak noted the construction industry in Canada has a robust nationwide network.
She urged other associations to spread the campaign as they are in an especially unique situation to motivate members.
Significant support has already come from the Fort McMurray construction community. Last year, more than 100,000 residents of the city and surrounding region were evacuated. The flames destroyed roughly one-fifth of the city’s homes.
"They were living this nightmare only a year ago and their message is that they are here with us and that they support us," said Famulak.
The wildfires were the first order of business at the new B.C. government’s first cabinet meeting recently.
As of press time, more than 150 wildfires were still active in the province. Roughly 43,000 British Columbians are still under evacuation orders or alerts.
The province has extended the state of emergency to ensure a co-ordinated response to the wildfires, explains a release, and has committed to providing ongoing direct financial support to evacuees. The current one-time, $600-per-household funding will be renewed every 14 days on an ongoing basis until evacuees return home.
In addition, Premier John Horgan has appointed a cabinet task force.