Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be visiting Fort McMurray to get a first-hand look at the damage left by the devastating wildfires Friday.
Trudeau will meet with first responders who have been working tirelessly to battle the blaze over the past 10 days. Many crews are still doucing hot spots and inspectors are now assessing the damage.
While there is no date for people to return home, the province says it will take five days to assess all the surviving structures in Fort McMurray.
Trudeau will also travel to Edmonton to meet with Premier Rachel Notley, who’s expected to press for enhanced Employment Insurance benefits for the provincial capital.
Ottawa is already fast-tracking claims from displaced workers, many of whom have spread across the country. The federal government is also putting together a special cabinet committee to co-ordinate aid and reconstruction efforts.
Thousands of people displaced by the Fort McMurray wildfire have been receiving pre-loaded debit cards from the Alberta government and Red Cross in an effort to ease the financial strain caused by their evacuation.
On Wednesday, the provincial government announced it will provide $100 million in emergency funding for evacuees while the Red Cross announced it will contribute $50 million from the $67 million donated by Canadians so far for fire relief efforts.
The province previously announced it would provide $1,250 per adult and $500 per dependent while the Red Cross said it would give adults $600 and each child would receive $300.
Meanwhile, construction and cleanup firms are already mobilizing to help rebuild Fort McMurray, in a monumental effort that’s expected to take years.
The head of a Fort Mac-based construction firm says he has crews heading up to major oilsands sites north of the city. Ben Dutton, CEO of Casman Group, says getting those operations running again is a key step to the long-term restoration of the community.
Dutton says he thinks it will be weeks before his workers can get into Fort McMurray itself.