As the rise of the second wave continues to strike and unpredictable winter conditions are approaching, small businesses across Canada are fearing the worst, unsure how they will meet quotas, retain employees, or simply stay afloat. To date, Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan has protected millions of jobs, provided emergency support to families, and helped to keep businesses steady throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic. A key part of the government’s strategy has been the RRRF, which helps support those who may not be eligible for other government funding programs.
An additional $600 million has been assigned to the RRRF government funding program, extending the program’s total COVID-19 support of small businesses to over $1.5 billion.
Since the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) introduced interest-free loans earlier this year in May, more than 12,000 businesses have received funding to help retain employees, cover costs, and stay profitable. The RRRF support has aided in protecting an estimated 95,000 jobs across Canada, and the additional $600 million has been promised to keep on aiding Canadians during the devastating global pandemic that has no end in sight.
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund: Overcoming COVID-19
The RRRF has been crucial in stabilizing businesses struck by COVID-19 by offering federal relief funds to address urgent needs. The additional $600 million will continue to be delivered through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) that have been working diligently with regional businesses to deliver targeted support to distressed communities.
“With the second wave upon us, we’ve heard clearly from businesses and workers that more support is needed. Our message to them is clear: We’re working with you to support good, local jobs and help our economy come back strong.”
– Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
Many of the eligible businesses obtaining RRRF loans have fewer than 100 employees, such as retailers, restaurants, and smaller vendors, some with as little as five employees. Smaller, less prioritized businesses will continue receiving financial support as long as their businesses meet the required RRRF program and applicant eligibility.
“We’re happy the federal government is putting money to help small businesses that have difficulties going through the crisis, especially as you start to have some provinces that are re-closing restaurants, bars [in light of the second wave of COVID-19].”
– David Lefebvre, Vice President of Restaurants Canada
How Will the Additional $600M RRRF Government Funding Be Distributed?
RDAs will directly deliver $455.7 million of the additional funding to small and medium-sized businesses facing financial pressure while $144.3 million will be delivered through Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) partnering with the RDAS in order to provide rural Canadian businesses and communities with access to capital and technical support.
The $600 million RRRF funding will be distributed to the following Canadian RDAs as such:
- $263.7 million for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) to support Western Canadian businesses.
- $184 million for FedDev Ontario to help businesses across southern Ontario.
- $69.8 million for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) to help businesses in Quebec.
- $60.2 million for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to help businesses in Atlantic Canada.
- $22.3 million for FedNor Ontario to aid business located in northern Ontario.
One option through FedDev Ontario’s RRRF program offers up to $40,000 in repayable interest-free loans, of which up to 25% (to a maximum of $10,000) can be converted to a non-repayable grant if 75% of the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022. A secondary option for RRRF funding offers up to $500K in unconditionally repayable contributions (interest-free loans).
How to Apply for RRRF Government Funding Support
To apply for pandemic relief funding through the RRRF, businesses must be incorporated in Canada with 500 full-time employees or less, have applied to other pandemic relief programs to gauge eligibility, and be facing financial pressures as a direct result of COVID-19 impacts.
RRRF applications are currently being accepted with no submission deadlines until the allocated funding has been depleted. Eligible applicants may receive advance payments of up to 80-100% of eligible costs after the assessment and approval stages.
Connect with a member of the Mentor Works team to discover how your business can access funding opportunities through the RRRF or alternative government funding programs. To explore additional coronavirus-related government support programs, please visit our simplified COVID-19 Support page.