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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.

Eligibility requirements have yet to be released.

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