Small Business Relief Fund Announced


OTTAWA: The Federal Government on Tuesday announced an investment of $12 million in the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund as part of the Small Business Week.

Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Mary Ng, said: “Small businesses are at the heart of our communities. They create good jobs, grow our economies, and bring life to our main streets. But they have also been among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Canada United is a national fundraising campaign created by the Royal Bank of Canada
(RBC) in collaboration with private sector partners and provincial and territorial chambers of commerce, including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC).

The campaign has been rallying support from Canadians for local small businesses in every corner of the country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “To all our small business owners: thank you. You help shape our communities and keep our country strong. I know this year hasn’t been easy, but we’re going to be here for you – this week and every week – until the end of this crisis.”

The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund, which is managed by the OCC, will support Canadian businesses across different sectors and industries with grants of up to $5,000. These grants will help thousands of small business owners cover the costs of personal protective equipment, make physical modifications to their businesses to meet local health and safety requirements, and enhance their digital or e-commerce capabilities.

This is especially important as we enter the second wave of the pandemic.

This investment builds on Ottawa’s continued support for small and local businesses through a wide range of COVID-19 emergency programs, such as the expanded Canada Emergency Business Account, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, and the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, the government said in a statement.

“The success of the small business is critical as we recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic,” it added. Mary Ng said: “The support announced today is yet another lifeline for resilient small businesses across Canada. These grants will help them cover the expenses involved in reopening and allow them to build a stronger digital presence.

As we’ve said from the very beginning of this pandemic, we will always be there for small businesses and the millions of hard-working Canadians they employ.”

Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, said: “Small businesses are cornerstones of our local economies and key to thriving communities, creating jobs, driving innovation and generating wealth for Canadians. Local businesses have always been there for us and now need our support more than ever. A sincere thanks to Minister Ng and the federal government for critical support to small businesses when they need it most.

Along with chambers of commerce and boards of trade across the country, we’re proud to support small businesses through the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund, helping them with their recovery efforts as a result of COVID-19.”

Neil McLaughlin, Group Head, Personal & Commercial Banking, RBC, added: “While the pandemic has undoubtedly challenged us in many ways, it’s also highlighted Canadians’ unwavering commitment to supporting one another during difficult times. We are incredibly grateful for the ways Canadians have supported their local businesses when they really needed it and for the commitment of our partners who helped bring Canada United to life.

And now, with the federal government’s support, we are confident that the Small Business Relief Fund will make a significant difference in helping businesses.”

• Starting on October 26, small businesses can apply online through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for the next wave of Canada United Small Business Relief Fund grants.

• Applications are open to small businesses across sectors and industries in every part of the country that has between $150,000 and $3 million in annual sales; have up to 75 employees; are registered in Canada; would use the grant to cover the costs of protective equipment, make physical modifications to their businesses to meet local health and safety requirements, and enhance digital capabilities.

◦ The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is helping businesses by covering up to 75% of payroll, retroactive to March 15, and with the intention of continuing support into summer 2021.

◦ The expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will provide businesses with an additional $20,000 interest-free loan on top of the original $40,000 CEBA loan