FedDev Ontario's Regional Relief and Recovery Fund protects 12,320 jobs in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in 2020

News release

Nearly 580 local businesses and organizations received $98.6 million in combined funding to help weather the impacts of COVID-19

January 12, 2021 – Toronto, Ontario

Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan has helped to protect millions of jobs, provide emergency support to families and keep businesses afloat as they deal with the impact of COVID-19. A central part of this is the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), which provides liquidity support to businesses and not-for-profit organizations affected by COVID-19 that are unable to access other federal relief measures or require additional support.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, FedDev Ontario has provided critical support for thousands of southern Ontario businesses and other organizations, helping them continue operations, protect jobs, cover costs and play a role in our economic recovery. Recognizing the pandemic's continued strain on local economies, FedDev Ontario is delivering $184 million in additional funding in southern Ontario, and has extended and expanded eligibility criteria to help those still in need of support.

Protecting local jobs and supporting businesses in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)

Today, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and Member of Parliament for Eglinton–Lawrence, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, announced that nearly 580 businesses and organizations in the GTA received a total of $98.6 million in combined RRRF funding, protecting 12,320 jobs in the region in 2020. This funding has supported the immediate needs of a broad range of businesses, from main street businesses such as retail shops and restaurants, to tourism operators and manufacturing and tech companies.

For example, HiMama, a Toronto-based technology company, has developed an app to streamline operations for daycares and early learning programs, while increasing parent engagement through digital communications. In operation since 2013, the company has grown its global customer base to thousands of daycares, employs more than 80 staff, and is a Certified B Corporation. The pandemic caused widespread closures for daycares across North America, who continue to experience reduced enrollment rates. RRRF supported operational costs for the company, allowing it to support daycares with remote communications and learning activities for families until they were able to safely reopen their doors.

Family-owned and operated Riverside Natural Foods, based in Vaughan, is a leading manufacturer of nutritional snack foods under three brands, MadeGood, Good To Go and CookiePal. With shifts in consumer spending and reduction of in-store traffic due to the pandemic, the company had to modify product offerings, ramp up e-commerce capability and invest in employee safety. Support from RRRF helped the company to cover operational costs to adjust production and support its workers, while continuing construction of a new manufacturing facility to support future growth. 

Businesses and organizations in southern Ontario that have applied for other federal COVID-19 programs, but were unable to access sufficient relief, are encouraged to review RRRF eligibility requirements or contact FedDev Ontario for more information.


"The pandemic has presented many challenges to business owners across our province and especially within the GTA. I continue to be impressed with stories I hear about how small business owners, such as HiMama and Riverside Natural Foods, have pivoted and persevered through this time of crisis. These stories are just two examples of many that demonstrate the impact that FedDev Ontario's Regional Relief and Recovery Fund is having on local businesses, employees, families and communities. In the GTA alone, the RRRF has protected 12,320 jobs, while helping nearly 580 local businesses in 2020 survive the hardships caused by the pandemic. Thanks to this crucial support through RRRF, we will get through this period of time – stronger than before and ready for economic recovery."
– Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and Member of Parliament for Eglinton–Lawrence

"As local economies continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund is here to help. Today's announcement is proof of our government's commitment to supporting businesses through this challenging time. Our message to Canadian business owners and workers is clear: we've been here for you with immediate measures during the COVID-19 crisis and we will continue to work with you to support good jobs and help our businesses not just survive, but thrive so our economy can come back strong."
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

"The support we received from RRRF helped HiMama to support these families with remote learning activities and a continued connection for their children and child care providers during closures. Upon reopening, we were also well-positioned to help daycares adapt their operations to support new health and safety procedures. Child care is fundamental to the effective functioning of our economy and I'm grateful that we were able to be there for early childhood educators who have been one of the unsung heroes through the pandemic."
– Ron Spreeuwenberg, Chief Executive Officer, HiMama

"The pandemic has challenged us in ways that we could never had predicted. We had to react quickly to mitigate the impact on our company to continue to manufacture our products and provide employment for over 400 families. We are grateful that the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund from FedDev Ontario was able to give us the support that we needed to get through this tough year."
– Nima Fotovat, President, Riverside Natural Foods

Quick facts

  • The national $1.5 billion Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), delivered by Canada's regional development agencies, provides liquidity support to businesses and not-for-profit organizations affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, that are unable to access other federal relief measures, or require additional support. FedDev Ontario is delivering $436.4 million to support businesses and organizations in southern Ontario.

  • FedDev Ontario has also extended and expanded the eligibility criteria for RRRF, increasing contribution amounts and the timeframe for eligible costs, which is available to new applicants and existing recipients.

  • With downtown cores hit particularly hard by COVID-19, FedDev Ontario is investing $50 million through RRRF in the Digital Main Street (DMS) platform and the Recovery Activation Program, which will help nearly 23,000 main street businesses and SMEs across Ontario embrace digital business models, positioning them to regain lost revenue and become more resilient and competitive as the economy recovers.

  • Recognizing the significant impact that COVID-19 has had on tourism in the region, FedDev Ontario also invested $30 million through the RRRF for the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO), which will provide Destination Marketing Organizations in southern Ontario with support to help encourage visitors back into local communities as the economy safely reopens.

Associated links


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

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario
Toll Free: 1-866-593-5505

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