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The Fort McMurray Wildfires: How Are Canadian Companies Responding?

May 18, 2016
Sally Crane
Sally Crane
Senior Research Associate
Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

The devastating wildfires in and around the Fort McMurray area have consumed an area of 2,400 square kilometres (an area over twice the size of Calgary). More than 90,000 evacuees have fled along the two main routes leaving the city to take shelter at oil worker camps and in communities such as Lac La Biche and Edmonton.

In response to the wildfires, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government will match all individual donations to the Canadian Red Cross relief efforts for Fort McMurray, and more than $86 million has already been donated.

But how are companies across Canada responding?

A poll conducted among The Conference Board of Canada’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability networks found that of the 31 companies surveyed, 81 per cent will be offering support to those affected by the wildfires. Seventy per cent will be making a company donation, 56 percent will provide support through employee fundraising, 44 per cent through company products and services, and 41 per cent through volunteers. The majority of companies that will be offering financial support say they plan to do so through donations to the Canadian Red Cross, but 40 per cent plan to directly support those affected. Financial support levels varied, with 52 per cent of the respondents contributing $50,000 or more.

Support being offered by companies, above and beyond corporate donations and employee fundraising, includes:

  • Air Canada helping by providing transportation for the evacuees and for the delivery of medical supplies;
  • AstraZeneca exploring the possibility of donating medical supplies;
  • Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, Bell Canada, and CTV launching public-facing fundraising campaigns;
  • SaskEnergy providing technical assistance for relighting the gas service;
  • McDonald’s launching its “Every Big Mac Supports Fort Mac” cause marketing campaign.

If you are a Canadian business and would like to complete the quick poll, we’d be delighted to have you participate. To do so, please go to the Fort McMurray: Fire Response poll page.

We will continue to monitor the results and share updates. If you would like to be on our updates distribution list, please contact me directly at

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