FedDev Ontario’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund protects more than 1,760 jobs from London to Sarnia to Chatham-Kent in 2020

News release

Over 230 local businesses and organizations received nearly $19 million in combined funding to help weather the impacts of COVID-19

January 12, 2021 –  London, 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 from London to Sarnia to Chatham-Kent

Today, Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Member of Parliament for London West, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, announced that over 230 businesses and organizations from the London, Sarnia and Chatham-Kent areas received a total of $18.9 million in combined RRRF funding, protecting over 1,760 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, to restaurants and tourism operators to technology and manufacturing companies. 

In a region largely powered by the manufacturing sector, businesses across southwestern Ontario have taken a significant hit due to closures and supply chain shortages resulting from the pandemic. The RRRF works to prevent losses and help businesses stay afloat, including URSA Manufacturing ULC (URSA) in London, a precision stamping and mechanical welded assembly supplier in the automotive industry. COVID-19 placed additional strains on URSA’s revenue generation, but assistance through the RRRF has helped URSA cover its short-term fixed operating costs and diversify into non-auto markets—keeping the company in business. 

For Chocolatea, an artisan chocolate and premium tea retail shop in downtown Ingersoll, the pandemic has meant fewer customers, a drop in sales and the need to reduce hours. RRRF support, delivered through Community Futures Oxford, provided working capital to help the company with its cash flow needs.  

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. 

Quotes

“The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the local economies of London, Chatham, Sarnia, and surrounding regions—from major manufacturers to small main street businesses. However, I continue to hear of innovation and resilience shown by so many businesses, such as URSA Manufacturing and Chocolatea. Stories like these highlight how vital FedDev Ontario’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund has been to survival of many businesses across southern Ontario. From London to Sarnia to Chatham-Kent, RRRF has protected over 1,760 jobs, helping more than 230 local businesses and organizations in 2020. As a result of this crucial support from RRRF, the London, Sarnia, and Chatham-Kent regions are going to get through this time and be stronger together, as we work toward economic recovery.”
– Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Member of Parliament for London West

“The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund has helped many business owners in London and across Ontario cover unavoidable costs, retain staff, and adapt their operations in the face of this pandemic. As we begin 2021, the RRRF will continue to support the businesses in the London area who need it most.”
– Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament for London North Centre

“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

“Support from FedDev Ontario through the RRRF has been instrumental as URSA rebuilds inventory levels and restores customer sales. Thanks to Government of Canada assistance, our employment is back to pre-COVID-19 levels and is expected, based on customer orders, to reach new heights by year-end.”
– Barry Alyea, Operations Manager, URSA Manufacturing ULC

“Receiving the RRRF loan was just that: relief! It offered the ability to move forward in business while reducing the stress of the unknown. As a small business owner in a small community, we’ve come to rely upon each other to get through this the best we know how, and this wouldn’t have been possible without support from FedDev Ontario through Community Futures Oxford.”
– Cindy Walker, Owner, Chocolatea

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

Contacts

Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
catherine.mounier-desrochers@canada.ca

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario
fdo.mediarel-relmedias.fdo@canada.ca
Toll Free: 1-866-593-5505

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