As we approach the new 2021 year, less than two weeks away, many Canadians and people all around the world are no doubt reflecting on one of the strangest years most of us have ever experienced. This pandemic-driven year has showed humanity that life as we know it can change rapidly; that our routines, gatherings, daily commutes, and regular occurrences are virtually impermanent. While the global COVID-19 pandemic isn’t quite like the popular zombie apocalypse movies, it’s natural that people feel fear about the uncertainty of these times. Luckily, the Canadian government has put measures in place that value health and economic strength above all else, going as far as securing over 10 times the vaccines needed for the total population.
On November 30, the Government of Canada released the 2020 Fall Economic Statement (FES) titled Supporting Canadians and Fighting COVID-19. Focusing heavily on the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), the FES report contains details about statistics, projections, and strategy plans as they relate to COVID-19 and continued support for Canadian businesses, health, and impacts on job protection.
Canada’s Fall Economic Statement (FES) highlights that since May, the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) has supported over 15,000 businesses in Canada, including over 8,500 rural companies and more than 5,000 women-owned organizations, saving roughly 100,000 jobs during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
What is the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)?
If you haven’t already heard about it, the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) was introduced in May 2020 to provide repayable interest-free loans that help support the fixed operating costs of Canadian businesses that could not meet the eligibility criteria to receive funding through other federal and provincial COVID-19 support programs.
“Our government will always be there to support Canadians to stabilize the economy and help businesses grow. We’re working with you to support good, local jobs and help Western Canada’s economy come back strong.”
– Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
The RRRF has recently been extended and expanded in southern Ontario. RRRF funding now supports incurred costs of up to a maximum $1 million and select not-for-profits are currently eligible to apply for funding. To learn more about whether your business could qualify for government funding for relief and recovery measures, please visit our COVID-19 Support Page or get in touch with the Mentor Works team to assess your eligibility.
Canada’s 2020 Fall Economic Statement: Plans for Ongoing COVID-19 Support for Canadian Businesses
The Canadian government’s 2020 FES highlights an ongoing plan of action including proposed measures and investments to continue protecting Canadians’ health, businesses, and jobs in order to maintain strong economic growth and stability. The full 2020 report can be accessed here.
A few of the key measures outlined in the 2020 FES that promote the continued support of Canadian businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic include:
- A new Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program would provide government-guaranteed financing and low-interest loans for hardest hit businesses, including those in sectors like tourism and hospitality, hotels, and arts and entertainment.
- Extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for an additional four weeks.
- A $206 million investment over two years, starting in 2020-21, to the regional development agencies for a new Regional Air Transportation initiative.
- Extending the 25 percent top-up to the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy until March 13, 2021.
- Increasing the maximum Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy rate to 75 percent for the period beginning December 20, 2020 and extending this rate until March 13, 2021.
As for the continuation of RRRF funding, the FES is anticipating an additional investment of up to $500 million, bringing total funding to over $2 billion through the RRRF program. The FES states that upwards of twenty-five percent of 2021 RRRF support would be reserved for local tourism businesses since Canada’s tourism sector continues to struggle during COVID-19 restrictions.
Government Funding for COVID-19 Relief and Recovery
As highlighted in the FES, the Canadian government is always adding extra support measures for Canadians across the country, including numerous government funding programs to help support small businesses during the global COVID-19 pandemic. There are many types of pandemic support programs available that provide grants, loans, or a combination of both, to help offset costs of employee wages, rent, purchasing personal protective equipment, and/or renovations to meet restrictions and guidelines.
Please visit our COVID-19 Support Page for program details and eligibility requirements for more information or contact the Mentor Works team if you would like to assess your eligibility for government funding support.