Government of Canada investment supports more than 3,400 businesses across Ontario to leverage technology and adapt

News release

December 9, 2020 – Toronto, Ontario

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses across Canada have been adapting to meet the demands of a new reality. Virtual platforms have presented a solution for managing employees, meeting new customers and working with disrupted supply chains. With support from the Recovery Activation Program (RAP), many businesses are meeting these challenges by learning how to digitize their business to adapt now and be more resilient in the future.     

In June 2020, FedDev Ontario announced a $7.5 million investment through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) for the Toronto Region Board of Trade to offer RAP at no cost to firms across Ontario looking to digitize their supply chains, develop customer acquisition systems and modernize back office operations. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and local Chambers are acting as referral agents to the program, with strong local knowledge of businesses in their regions looking for digital support. To date, more than 3,400 people have registered for RAP events, including the free Digital Needs Assessment (DNA). By completing the DNA, businesses gain access to a no-cost analysis of their current digital situation. Following the business analysis, immersive training and mentoring opportunities with program partners and industry leaders are available so that businesses can continue their progressive journey to evolve and build future resilience.

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), spoke to RAP graduates via video during a webcast panel. This webcast was one in an ongoing series of  free virtual webinars for RAP participants, program graduates and interested businesses.

Sarah Wilson, CEO of Canadian Safety Group Inc., and Dorin Radu, Executive Director of Nelson Industrial Inc., both completed one program stream of RAP and are now considered “RAP alumni.” They spoke to the group about the benefits of the program for their businesses.

Canadian Safety Group Inc., headquartered in St. Catharines, provides a wide range of workplace safety support services, consultations and courses to help companies manage their safety obligations. Through RAP, the company gained confidence, identified positive trends already in place at Canadian Safety Group and they were able to take steps to improve and expand their online suite of courses and supports.

Operating since 1973, Nelson Industrial Inc. is located in Pickering and offers custom-designed metal products for commercial, manufacturing and other industries. As the company worked through the RAP self-assessment, Nelson Industrial was able to identify gaps in the integration of their existing digital platforms. With advice from the experts delivering the online RAP sessions, Nelson Industrial has been able to streamline its digital presence and improve its customer experience.

RAP has been developed with the support of industry experts to provide holistic answers to address a business’ digital needs. With a learning framework focused on key areas to provide digital growth and success and all services provided at no cost to participating businesses, the roadmap for growth and future resilience has never been clearer. To begin your Digital Needs Assessment or for more information, visit the RAP website today.


"Building digital knowledge while tending to all other aspects of running a business is challenging in the best of times. We know that this is a difficult and uncertain time and if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we are stronger together. I want to congratulate all the graduates of the Recovery Activation Program. Your work to evolve your businesses to thrive in a digital world is building future resilience for you and for Canada’s economy."
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“The Recovery Activation Program helps Ontario businesses identify how to best pivot digitally and meet the needs of the new normal. It is a critical tool for business owners who are not only looking to persevere through the pandemic but come out stronger on the other side.  We wouldn’t be able to offer this program at no-cost to the business community without the support of the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.”
Leigh Smout, President, Toronto Regional Board of Trade, World Trade Centre – Toronto

“The COVID-19 pandemic is having acute and uneven impacts on different regions across Ontario and Canada, accentuating existing disparities. The Toronto Region Board of Trade’s Recovery Activation Program has provided much-needed support to many small businesses during a time when they need it most. The Ontario Chamber Network is pleased to work with the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario to connect local businesses in their regions looking for digital support.”
- Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chambers of Commerce

“The sessions in the Recovery Activation Program were extremely relatable to our business. By taking part in this program, it allowed us to realize what we do well as a business, but also what we can improve on.”
- Sarah Wilson, CEO, Canadian Safety Group Inc.

“Among the elements of great impact, the self-assessment conducted online was a real eye-opener for our company. Additional to the objective review of our level of technology adoption, the questionnaire also helped us identify some gaps in the integration of our digital platforms and indicated potential opportunities for improvement.”
- Dorin Radu, Executive Director, Nelson Industrial Inc.

Quick facts

  • FedDev Ontario’s investment in RAP is through the national $2 billion Regional Relief and Recovery Fund. In southern Ontario, FedDev Ontario is delivering $436.4 million to provide financial relief and help businesses recover. This includes $69.4 million in targeted rural support delivered by Community Futures Development Corporations.

  • The Government of Ontario also provided $200,000 to support the delivery of RAP in Northern Ontario.

  • RAP is being delivered through collaboration with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and local Chambers.

  • As part of a comprehensive investment to support small- and medium-sized businesses in their efforts to digitize their storefronts, establish strong e-commerce sites and build resilience for the future, FedDev Ontario also provided a $42.5-million RRRF investment to the Digital Main Street Platform.

Associated links


Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Andrew Rudyk
Specialist, Communications, Toronto Region Board of Trade

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario

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