FedDev Ontario's Regional Relief and Recovery Fund protects more than 2,900 jobs in Waterloo and surrounding regions in 2020
Over 330 local businesses and organizations received $30.4 million in combined funding to help weather the impacts of COVID-19
January 12, 2021 – Waterloo, 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 Waterloo and surrounding regions
Today, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and Member of Parliament for Waterloo, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, announced that over 330 businesses and organizations in the Waterloo and surrounding regions received a total of $30.4 million in combined RRRF funding, protecting more than 2,900 jobs in the region. This funding has supported the immediate needs of a broad range of businesses, from tech companies and manufacturers to main street businesses such as retail shops and restaurants.
Waterloo-based DigitalEd has created Möbius, an innovative industry-leading digital learning platform for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The platform provides lessons, assessments and interactive learning activities that engage students at a guided yet self-defined pace. With support from RRRF, this woman-led company was able to manage its fixed operating expenses and continue creating online educational opportunities at a time when digital learning has become a reality for many students. In addition to its North American partners, DigitalEd has also been able to expand its platform into Japan and China, further positioning the company for sustained future growth.
In Brantford, when the pandemic hit and sales were put on hold, Cravo Equipment Ltd. (Cravo)—a manufacturer of greenhouse structures and innovative retractable roof systems—temporarily closed its doors until measures could be introduced to keep employees safe. With RRRF funding to cover fixed operating expenses, such as utilities, insurance, IT expenses and professional fees, Cravo was able to successfully and safely bring back office and plant employees.
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.
"Like businesses across the country, entrepreneurs in the Kitchener-Waterloo region have faced extreme challenges a result of the pandemic. In the face of these difficulties, however, there are many companies such as DigitalEd and Cravo Equipment, who have demonstrated resilience in their abilities to pivot and innovate to survive. Their stories are two of many that highlight why FedDev Ontario's Regional Relief and Recovery Fund is so important to businesses and their communities. In Waterloo and surrounding regions, the RRRF has protected more than 2,900 jobs, while helping more than 330 local businesses in 2020. Thanks to the support of FedDev Ontario's RRRF fund, we are helping to keep Waterloo region strong and ready for economic recovery."
– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and Member of Parliament for Waterloo
"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
"COVID-19 directly impacted our partners at educational institutions very early in the pandemic. They had to either transition quickly, or dramatically expand capacity for remote online learning as a result of mandated school closures. With the resources provided by the RRRF, we were able to maintain our existing infrastructure to absorb the demand to support both faculty and students, and mitigate the impact on student academic success during a very challenging time for learners and educators, alike."
– Christina Perdikoulias, President, DigitalEd
"The RRRF really helped to alleviate the pressure on the limited funds available through our line of credit. The open lines of communication and fast turnaround time within the RRRF process made us feel supported, and the loan was key to getting us back on track."
– Anne Jackowetz, Vice-President, Cravo Equipment Ltd.
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.
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
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