FIR Program: Business Recovery Funding
The Forest Impact Recovery (FIR) Program is funded by ETSI-BC and lead by the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce


The Forest Impact Recovery (FIR) program provides funding to rural communities impacted by mill closures/curtailments, old growth deferment, and reduction in timber supply due to natural disasters such as flooding, wildfires, beetle infestation etc. 

Golden, Columbia Valley, through Kimberley, Cranbrook, Jaffray, Elkford, Fernie, and Sparwood will have access to qualified contractors (Community and/or Business Advisors) to provide advisory and support services to affected businesses and/or develop community economic diversification strategies. 

The Cranbrook Chamber is proud to lead this ETSI-BC funded, collaborative approach to this project.

This project will include a strong focus on retooling all businesses (not just forestry businesses) to prepare for shifts in the forest industry. In addition to working directly with businesses to prepare for industry shifts, the role of advisors will be to support communities for long-term economic diversification.

The focus of Advisor activities will be a combination of community economic recovery and business advisory services, while recovery and diversification efforts will consist of economic development planning, community-based research and analysis, sector development and economic diversification, and business investment and attraction. Advisory services will consist of business outreach, business recovery, and growth planning support.

The intended economic benefits of this program will be future community investment, future local business investment, future capital (business) investment, business/job retention, business diversification / new products or services, business incubation, and collaboration of multiple groups.


FIR Program

Riley Wilcox, Forest Impact Recovery Advisor

is serving businesses by learning about their current challenges and connecting them with resources and tools including skills/training, and access to grants and funding that support industry diversification and the resilience.

Wilcox has two decades of business management experience. She is skilled at navigating new and existing resources and finding the right fit for your business. She can work directly with you and your staff to develop strategies, explore funding initiatives and connect you to economic development opportunities.

In addition, Riley is working closely with local businesses, organizations, and government entities to build on our regional strengths to secure access to crucial resources and larger funding opportunities, leveraging the significant transformations occurring in the forest sector throughout our local communities.

FIR Advisor, Riley Wilcox, is available to assist you with your business. She offers direct one-to-one consultation on your schedule. If you are looking for programs, loans, grants, connections to other resources, business ideas or help, she is available at no cost.

You can reach her directly at [email protected]


The Bridging to Retirement Program is open for impacted and voluntary full-time workers at least 55 years old – who are B.C. forestry mill workers, forestry-dependent contractors and their employees – to transition to retirement. Forestry workers could be eligible for up to $75,000 in retirement bridging funding, depending on individual factors including years of experience, age at retirement and employer contribution.

TimberConnect give people interested in forestry a platform to connect, build relationships, and learn from each other. They facilitate informative discussions by highlighting current and upcoming industry events, practices, and trends while encouraging innovative ideas and new ways of thinking.

Employers can receive payments for: Hiring a new employee & registering them as a first-year apprentice. Registering an existing employee as a first-year apprentice. Switching an existing apprentice or journeyperson into a different Red Seal trade as a first-year apprentice.

*Only employers with less than 500 employees are eligible

Employers will have full discretion in how they spend the funds. (Some suggestions include: Hiring bonus, gear & work apparel, safety equipment, offset the cost of sick leave, training and mentoring, professional development, raises for field or office staff).

Payments will be:

  • $5,000 for hiring and/or registering a first-year apprentice.
  • An additional $5,000 for contributing to workforce diversity by hiring or registering any first-year apprentice who self-reports as: A woman, a new Canadian, LGBTQ2+, Indigenous, a person with a disability, a visible minority.

Employers can receive payments for up to 2 employees per fiscal year during the 2 years of the campaign, for a maximum of up to $40,000. The first fiscal year runs until March 31, 2023 and the next fiscal year is from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024.

IMPORTANT: In order to be eligible for incentives, you must first apply and sign the sub-agreement, before registering your apprentices.

The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is now accepting applications to fund projects that encourage diversity and innovation by the forest sector to utilize uneconomical residual fibre located on provincial crown land.

FESBC is committed to fund projects that increase residual fibre utilization by non-lumber producing facilities, utilize fibre from fire and insect damaged stands and minimize emissions associated with open burning.


The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is accepting applications to fund projects to assist the Province of British Columbia in reducing wildfire risk and increasing community resiliency to wildfire across BC.

FESBC is committed to ensure wildfire risk reduction projects approved by the FESBC board are aligned with both the Ministry of Forests and the BC Wildfire Services Branch priorities and standards.


The B.C. Employer Training Grant supports workers directly or indirectly impacted by a downturn in the forest sector (e.g., due to old growth deferral impacts).

Specifically: When impacted by a downturn in the forest sector, employers (including self-employed workers and contractors) who are looking to adapt to a new line of business are now eligible for funding to reskill themselves or their employees.

This funding is typically delivered in partnership with the Government of Canada and the forest industry, and is available to non-profit organizations, universities and research institutions working on behalf of the BC or Canadian wood products industry. The types of projects they fund include:

  • The Market Initiatives program is primarily focused on advancing opportunities in existing markets such as China, Japan, South Korea, India, Vietnam and the U.S., where the greatest short- and medium-term opportunities exist for the sector.
    • Most of these market development efforts are delivered by forest sector trade associations, with cost-shared funding support from FII, the Federal Government and industry.
  • The Wood First program is a collaborative effort involving the building construction industry, government and the forest sector. Based on recommendations from an advisory group representing a cross-section of primary and secondary manufacturing industries and wood product end-use sectors, FII develops an investment plan that allocates funding on an annual basis.
    • Activities under the Wood First program are delivered primarily through third-party organizations under a cost-sharing framework between FII, the Federal Government and industry. Initiatives are based on the understanding that long-term sustainability of the forest economy includes actively maintaining, creating and diversifying demand for BC forest products.

The FireSmart Community Funding & Supports program provides funding to local governments and First Nations in BC to increase community resiliency by undertaking community-based FireSmartTM 1 planning and activities that reduce the community’s risk from wildfire.

  • Eligible applicants: All local governments (municipalities and regional districts) and First Nations.
  • Eligible activities: See program guide for range of eligible activities.
  • 2024 intake: Eligible applicants may submit one application between October 1, 2023, and December 31, 2024.

[email protected] or (250) 356-2947

The Regional Innovation Ecosystems (RIE) program stream aims to create, grow and nurture inclusive regional ecosystems that support business needs throughout the innovation continuum, and foster an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation, growth and competitiveness.

RIE applications must support one of the following 2 priority areas:

1. Cluster Growth, within one of the following priority sectors:

  • Clean technology
  • Clean resources
  • Life Sciences
  • Value-added agriculture
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Digital technology

*Clusters are defined as a dense area of business activity containing a critical mass of large and small companies, post-secondary and research institutions, and other innovation actors. Their close geographic proximity can result in supply-chain benefits, encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration, drive competition and business specialization, and help to attract “anchor” companies from around the world.

2. Inclusiveness, with respect to one of the following under-represented groups:

  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Women
  • Youth

Contact: [email protected]

Helping Industries Source, Implement, and Champion Cleantech Solutions
With a network of over 1,000 cleantech solution providers, deep ecosystem connections across both regional and sectoral verticles, and access to experts and funders, it has never been easier to adopt new innovations. Foresight provides a range of de-risked, cost-effective partnership opportunities for businesses looking to lower their carbon footprint.
They accept applications on an ongoing basis for all of core programs. Most run three times per year with additional growth programming and mentoring available.

Ideation Programs:

  • Kickstart – Fall (Sep – Nov), Winter (Jan – Mar), Spring (May – June)

Commercialization Programs:

  • Launch & Deliver* – Fall (Sep – Dec), Winter (Jan – Apr), Spring (Apr – July)

Scale Programs:

  • Grow – Ongoing, you can begin at anytime
  • Earth Tech – September to May

This program facilitates the adoption of transformative technologies and products in the Canadian forest sector by bridging the gap between development and commercialization.


  • Capital Investment projects: provides non-repayable contributions of up to $10 million of a project’s eligible costs to enable forest sector firms to adopt transformational technologies and diversify product streams, ensuring industry competitiveness and greater environmental outcomes.
  • Studies: provides non-repayable contributions of up to $1 million of a project’s eligible costs for studies linked to the advancement of innovation in the forest sector in support of a future capital investment or a strategic shift by forest sector firms.

Eligible applicants would be legal entities validly incorporated or registered in Canada (non-profit, for-profit, and Indigenous organizations & groups) and Provincial, territorial, regional, and municipal governments and their departments and agencies.

Deadline: June 30, 2024
Contact: [email protected]

The BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund (MJF) will help manufacturing companies modernize and grow their operations by funding capital projects in all regions of B.C., particularly in communities affected by economic impacts or downturns. MJF will invest up to $180 million in projects that contribute to economic resilience and diversification and create and maintain stable, well-paying jobs for local workers.

The program welcomes applications from all manufacturing sectors. Forestry sector projects featuring new, sustainable value-added business lines to reduce dependency on old growth logging and make innovative use of biomaterials will be prioritized for funding.

Eligible applicants include businesses, for-profit organizations and entities with for-profit manufacturing operations (including Indigenous and First Nation-owned enterprises).
Non-repayable funding contributions are provided through two streams:

  • Project Readiness: Up to $50,000 contributions for final stage planning to prepare for a capital project.
  • Capital Investments: From $100,000 up to $10 million contributions for new or renovated infrastructure, technology, equipment and processes.

To apply, applicants first submit a high-level proposal to assess eligibility and alignment with program goals before moving to the second stage of providing more detailed project and business documentation.


  • EVEI (Elk Valley Economic Initiative)
  • CFEK (Community Futures East Kootenay)
  • KES (Kootenay Employment Services)
  • Golden Community Economic Development
  • Kicking Horse Chamber of Commerce
  • Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Fernie Chamber of Commerce

The partners in this project gratefully acknowledge the financial support of ETSI-BC, who have made this project possible.