Small business 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.
As we continue to fight this virus, small businesses face further losses, increased costs to reopening and an uncertain economic future. The Government of Canada is committed to doing whatever it takes to support small businesses and their communities. Their success is critical as we recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, during Small Business Week, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced an investment of $12 million in the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund.
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.
The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund, which is managed by the OCC, is supporting 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 the Government of Canada’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 support announced today is yet another lifeline for resilient small businesses across Canada. These grants will help them cover 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.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
“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.”
– Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce
“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 prepare for the road ahead.”
– Neil McLaughlin, Group Head, Personal & Commercial Banking, RBC
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 have between $150,000 and $3 million in annual sales; have up to 75 employees; are registered in Canada; and would use the grant to 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.
To support Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada introduced the largest relief package in our country’s history, which includes the following major programs for business owners and their employees:
- 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.
- The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, building on the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA), would provide simple and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by the pandemic.
- The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is delivered through Canada’s regional development agencies and supports small businesses across Canada that have been unable to access existing relief measures. Originally vested with $962 million, the RRRF has been topped up with an additional $600 million.
In addition to broad support programs, the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan includes targeted measures to help tourism businesses, rural communities, artists and athletes, innovative high-growth businesses, Indigenous-owned businesses, women entrepreneurs, farmers and agri-food businesses, and more.