More than $75 million has been paid out to families coping with wildfires that crimped Canada's oil-focused economy, a provincial government said.
The provincial government of Alberta said emergency funding to help those impacted by May wildfires in the Fort McMurray region expires Oct. 31. The government said more than $75 million went to help the tens of thousands of residents who sought support for short-term housing and other financial needs.
"After helping 96,000 people, we must continue to come together and shift our focus from short to long-term support," provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs Danielle Larivee said.
Outside of the oil sector, the government estimated about 4,000 small businesses were impacted by the wildfires in an area that contributes about $70 billion to national gross domestic product. Last week, the government offered tax credits for small business in an effort that could support up to 4,400 new jobs and add $380 million to provincial gross domestic product.
The provincial government in August extended around $65 million to help the area recover. Through a multilateral effort that included support from the Canadian Red Cross, new funding covered up to $15,200 in costs for cleanup and new equipment. The regional administration said it was allocating additional funding at an undisclosed amount to help cover wages.
The nation's economy is already under pressure from lower crude oil prices, which resulted in a 3.7 percent contraction for the oil-rich province of Alberta. The provincial government expected further economic woes because of the fires. Blazes that devastated parts of Fort McMurray idled about 1 million barrels per day worth of regional oil production.
Alberta's government estimated a net fiscal impact of about $387 million from the wildfires. Considering this, Alberta's finance minister said the provincial economy is expected to run an $8.3 billion deficit, a figure that's about $400 million higher than previous estimates.