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(Update 06.05.2020)

Ottawa announced $304.2 million in federal funding Wednesday to help small and medium-sized businesses in Western Canada who were not eligible for previous COVID-19 relief measures. This funding is part of the national $962-million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), to be unveiled Wednesday, which will support sectors such as tourism to retain employees, pay rent and access capital to pay bills during the pandemic.

Previous measures, such as the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) that opened on April 9, were not accessible to some businesses because they were too small or didn’t fit payroll requirements, for example. Rural and western communities, in particular, have been affected.

Western Economic Diversification Canada will deliver $208.5 million directly to small and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Another $95.7 million will go towards businesses in small towns and rural areas through the Community Futures Pan West Network, including retail shops, restaurants and corner stores, in loans up to $40,000.

Businesses across Western Canada can apply for funding through Western Economic Diversification starting Wednesday.

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is open to businesses that are not eligible for the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program or ‘RRRF – Community Futures Stream.’

Mandatory Criteria:

  • Have fewer than 500 full-time employees (FTEs).
  • Are located in Western Canada (defined as British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba).
  • Are not located in an area serviced by a Community Futures (CF) office.
  • Are not eligible for the ‘RRRF – Community Futures Stream’.
  • Have applied and were declined for funding from the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) or were not eligible for CEBA funding.
  • Were operational as of March 1, 2020.
  • Have suffered financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Intend to continue operations in Western Canada.

Types of Businesses eligible to apply (examples):

  • Pre-revenue firms (ie. a company that has not had any sales to date).
  • Businesses that do not have salaried employees (e.g. a company with a workforce of contract employees).
  • Businesses with no payroll that do pay their owners a salary (e.g. a company that pays its owners through dividends).

Businesses that are not eligible to apply (examples):

  • Sole proprietorships.
  • Not-for-profit organizations.

You can also use the RRRF Eligibility Assistant to quickly determine if you can apply.

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis and will be assessed as they are received. The RRRF will close once it successfully distributes funds to eligible businesses across Western Canada. If you are eligible, you will be notified of your application status via email within 10 business days.

Repayment Terms

  • Repayment of 75%, or up to $30,000, of the contribution amount, on or before December 31, 2022, will result in the forgiveness of 25%, or up to $10,000 of the total contribution.
  • No scheduled monthly repayments are required until after December 31, 2022.
  • If 75% of the contribution amount is not repaid by December 31, 2022, the balance owing will be converted to an additional three (3) year term repayable contribution (with a fixed monthly repayment schedule), beginning January 2023, with no forgivable portion.
  • The full balance, of the contribution amount, must be repaid no later than December 31, 2025.

Reporting Requirements

Funding recipients will be required to attest that the full amount of the contribution was expended for operating costs, such as rent, wages and salaries, utilities, insurance, debt expenses, professional fees and property and business taxes.

Businesses will be required to submit a final report that includes:

  • Number of jobs maintained, as a result of RRRF,
  • Confirmation that the business is continuing its operations, and
  • Other metrics as may be requested by Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD).

WD may request a copy of the Recipient’s financial statements.

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