05/26/2016 14:17 EDT | Updated 05/27/2017 01:12 EDT

Alberta says Fort McMurray firms to get preference on rebuilding contracts

EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it will give preference to Fort McMurray businesses when it awards contracts to rebuild the fire-ravaged community.

Economic Development Minister Deron Bilous says businesses in the city were already struggling from the prolonged collapse in the price of oil.

He says the government will work with insurers and the Red Cross to help employers in the Fort McMurray area get back on their feet.

Bilous says that will include working with local suppliers and giving preference to competitive bids from local firms.

The Fort McMurray Construction Association has complained that workers from the community are being overlooked for jobs, such as trucking supplies to the city.

Association president Charles Iggulden says his members, who are displaced right now, are frustrated and could use the work.

"The wildfire and subsequent evacuations have had a devastating impact on employers in the region," Bilous said in a release Thursday.

"We are committed to assisting employers in the Fort McMurray area to get access to the resources they need in their return to the community."

(CFFR, The Canadian Press)