FedDev Ontario’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund protects over 1,500 jobs in Central-Eastern Ontario in 2020

News release

Over 300 local businesses and organizations received $14.6 million in combined funding to help weather the impacts of COVID-19

January 12, 2021 – Peterborough, 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 Central-Eastern Ontario

Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development and Member of Parliament for Peterborough–Kawartha, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, announced that 315 businesses and organizations in Central-Eastern Ontario received a total of $14.6 million in combined RRRF funding, protecting over 1,500 jobs in the region. 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 to manufacturing and tech companies. 

For example, PJ’s Diner in Peterborough, had to close its doors during Phase 1 of the lockdown. Owners Shari and Adam Cunliffe said the funding they received through RRRF, delivered by Community Futures Peterborough, allowed them to retain five employees and cover operating costs so they didn’t have to close the business permanently.

Starting as a small home operation in 1989, Mariposa Dairy in Kawartha Lakes has grown to become the largest privately-owned goat cheese manufacturer in North America, employing 130 full-time workers and many local seasonal workers. While the company continued to grow prior to the pandemic, COVID-19 has had severe impacts on the food industry and its supply chain. Due to food service closures, Mariposa Dairy faced a decreased demand for products, while orders for milk from suppliers still needed to be met and processed. This, along with the cost to store products, caused major cash flow strain on the company. RRRF support helped Mariposa Dairy to cover overhead costs and allowed the company to continue production, store products for future sales and maintain skilled workers.

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 been incredibly challenging for businesses everywhere. The resilience and perseverance shown by so many business owners in Central-Eastern Ontario, including the owners of PJ’s Diner and Mariposa Dairy, has been extraordinary. Theirs are just a couple of examples of how our federal government’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund has been crucial to supporting local businesses during the pandemic. In Central-Eastern Ontario, the RRRF has protected over 1,500 jobs and helped more than 300 local businesses survive the hardships caused by the pandemic in 2020. With this federal support, we are helping to keep Central-Eastern Ontario strong as we work toward economic recovery.”
The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development and Member of Parliament for Peterborough–Kawartha

“The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund has not only had a profound impact on our local businesses, but on households and communities in the Central-Eastern Ontario region. Through RRRF support, business owners have been able to keep the lights on, pivot their business operations and continue providing jobs for hundreds of individuals in the region.”
Neil Ellis, Member of Parliament for Bay of Quinte

“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

“When the pandemic hit, we had a 90 percent drop in sales and with that came a lot of financial stress and had an enormous emotional toll. But now, after hitting one year in business, we survived the pandemic thanks to the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund. Without it, our restaurant would not have survived. This funding was a huge stress relief allowing us to pay outstanding bills and bring back employees. The funding got us over the hump to the point of opening of our patio. Business has improved and we’ve welcomed our wonderful, loyal customers back.”
Adam and Shari Cunliffe, Owners, P.J.’s Diner on Sherbrooke

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw a large decrease in demand for our products. However, the supply of milk is not a tap that can be turned on and off. As a dedicated receiver of approximately 18 million litres of milk each year from 120 goat farms in Ontario, with commitments set up a year in advance, we must continue manufacturing. I’m very pleased that the Government of Canada has provided programs, such as the RRRF, that has helped us continue operations and keep our essential workers.”
- Bruce Vandenberg, President, Mariposa Dairy

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.

  • In addition to the support announced today, over 1,000 local jobs are being protected through an additional $2-million RRRF investment in the not-for-profit Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC). With this funding, Northumberland CFDC is supporting women-led business owners to adapt and recover.

  • 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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