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

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health records third COVID-19 death

A new community outbreak was reported at Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

One person was killed in a two-vehicle crash south of Williams Lake on Highway 97 Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (Photo submitted)
Highway 97 crash south of Williams Lake claims one life

Road conditions at the time were slippery and covered with slush: RCMP

File photo
Man escapes truck incident unscathed

Submitted by Sgt. G.D. Simpson October 19 The Clearwater RCMP detachment received… Continue reading

Peter Milobar, BC Liberal candidate for the Kamloops-North Thompson has been elected for a second term. Milobar is pictured here with his wife Lianne. (Facebook photo)
Milobar takes Kamloops – North Thompson for a second term

Peter Milobar, the BC Liberal candidate for the Kamloops-North Thompson has been… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

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)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Most Read