The Canadian government has expanded its Regional Relief Recovery Fund (RRRF), providing more support for Northern Ontario Businesses.
Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages announced last Friday that an additional $22.3 million will be given to FedNor to help businesses and organizations in Northern Ontario recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
Since the RRRF launched in May, over 12,000 businesses have been assisted through the fund, including many in West Nipissing.
Economic Partners Sudbury East West Nipissing Inc. distributed the original $685,000 of the initial funding in just 9 days. Nickel Belt MP Marc G. Serré was able to bump the allocation to $1.2M after talks with the minister’s office.
“Both the fall and the second wave bring on different challenges that businesses didn’t face in the spring or summer,” said Serré. “The need is as great now as it was this summer. It’s just different areas and businesses. The second wave is creating a lot of concern and uncertainty for some. Some are hurting more than they were in the spring or summer, and we heard from them that they needed more support. We’re happy the cabinet is listening to us, and them. FedNor, through Economic Partners in West Nipissing, is a perfect venue to provide support for local businesses.”
Serré says there’s still a lot more to be done.
“It helps to offset some of the costs from the pandemic that these businesses incurred. There are more applications. Speaking with Economic Partners, there was a need even after the second round of funding in Nickel Belt. My colleagues told me they heard the same in their ridings throughout the country. So we went to the minister’s office and said we need to expand this fund. We need to continue supporting these businesses.”
Serré is encouraging all businesses in need to go to their economic development agency and apply, and that the distribution of funds will be coming shortly.
“An organization like Economic Partners has picked up the slack and are providing loans and support to small business owners. We did the first round with chartered banks (CIBA) and it was ok. But I wasn’t encouraging Ministers to go back to chartered banks. I encouraged to go through Economic Partners, FedNor, and make sure that the money goes towards smaller areas, and businesses.”
Businesses and organizations in Northern Ontario that have applied for, but were unable to get access to sufficient relief from other federal COVID-19 programs, are encouraged to review RRRF eligibility requirements or to contact FedNor for more information.