A lease sign hangs in the window as a cyclist walks past a commercial store Monday August 31, 2020 in Ottawa. The federal government is adding $600 million to a fund to help small- and medium-sized businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Feds top up relief fund with $600M to help small, medium businesses

Money has also gone to startup companies that need investment to stay afloat

The federal government is adding $600 million to a fund to help small- and medium-sized businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measure announced today by Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly brings total support through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund to more than $1.5 billion.

The government says the fund has already helped more than 12,000 businesses struggling because of the pandemic, which has hit everything from main street boutiques to hotels and restaurants.

The relief and recovery fund, administered through federal regional development agencies, is intended to help enterprises that might not be eligible for other pandemic-related assistance.

Of the new money, almost $456 million will go to small- and medium-sized operations facing financial pressure to help them keep employees and cover costs.

Another $144 million will provide rural businesses and communities with access to capital and technical support, and will be delivered by community futures development corporations across the country.

“What we’ve learned is that in certain hard-hit sectors, it was more difficult for businesses to have access to capital through financial institutions, and that’s why they came up to us,” Joly said in an interview.

For instance, in northern Ontario, half of the businesses supported to date are in the tourism sector, she said.

“We’re seeing that all over Canada.”

Money has also gone to startup companies that need investment to stay afloat, she added.

“That was key, because we need to keep our innovation and our competitive edge, notwithstanding the pandemic.”

Joly said she’s also aware that major downtown cores are “really going through difficult times right now, and we’re looking at solutions.”

The minister said she spoke with chambers of commerce in several big cities this week to see what the government can do to help.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The last forum before the election on Saturday focused on health care.
Boundary-Similkameen candidates talk health care over digital forum

The Support Our Health Care Society hosted the forum

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is planning to implement transit service in the West Bench area in September, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Regional district to bring transit service to West Bench in 2021

Residents of area near Penticton will be consulted before plans are finalized

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

Carmi Elementary students voted through CIVIX Students Vote. (Lesley Evans photo)
Penticton students have their say in B.C. election

Twelve schools, including Carmi Elementary participated in Student Vote

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Members of Summerland council and municipal staff were present on Oct. 22 to officially open the expanded Summerland landfill facility. From left are manager of environmental services Candace Pilling, Coun. Erin Carlson, Coun. Marty Van Alphen, acting mayor Doug Holmes, Coun. Richard Barkwill and Coun. Erin Trainer. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Changes made to entrance of Summerland landfill

Upgrades came at cost of $500,000

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read