Across our region, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on small businesses and those who rely on them. Recognizing they are the backbone of our economy, the Government of Canada has implemented a series of concrete and tangible measures to help them retain their employees, pay rent and get capital to pay bills.
Central among these initiatives is the new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF.) Delivered by FedNor and the other Regional Development Agencies across the country, the RRRF is a special fund to support businesses and organizations affected by COVID-19 who are unable to qualify for other assistance.
The RRRF will help to address gaps left by other measures as part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, and complement those already provided by other levels of government, as well as take into account regional needs and realities. Its immediate, concrete help will be tailored to businesses’ unique needs, relieving pressures and helping them pay employees and cover costs. In the months to come, it will position them to play a meaningful role in our economic recovery.
A total of $49.5 million has been allocated in support of Northern Ontario businesses and organizations, and will be allocated through two funding streams.
Regional economy stream in Northern Ontario
FedNor is delivering $24 million of this RRRF investment through its Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program. Eligible applicants include businesses (such as incorporated companies, corporations or co-operatives,) Indigenous organizations (like Indigenous/First Nation/Métis Settlement-owned businesses,) as well as various not-for-profit entities. The RRRF will support a variety of costs or activities to help SMEs and not-for-profit organizations stay solvent over a period of six months and/or begin preparing for recovery beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The full details are now available on the FedNor website.
Community Futures stream in Northern Ontario FedNor is partnering with Northern Ontario’s 24 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) to deliver $25.5 million in RRRF support directly to small businesses and entrepreneurs in rural areas. This includes sole proprietorships or partnerships not covered under the Regional Economy stream. Each CFDC is managing its own application and selection process in accordance with the parameters set out in the RRRF, and will determine ultimate funding recipients in accordance with its own policies and procedures.
To find out more about RRRF funding available through this stream, contact your local CFDC or consult this CFDC directory.
To ensure widespread distribution across Northern Ontario, I strongly encourage you to share this email broadly across your networks using member or client mailing lists, as appropriate. In particular, please share it with any businesses you know that have applied for other COVID-19 emergency supports and were deemed ineligible or declined.