Government of Canada invests up to $20 million to support downtown Ottawa businesses impacted by demonstrations

News release

February 19, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario

Invest Ottawa to help Ottawa businesses recover as they reopen following the demonstrations

Businesses in Downtown Ottawa have been hard hit by the ongoing illegal blockades of the nation’s capital. For the past three weeks, many businesses in the downtown core have been unable to operate safely due to serious concerns caused by the blockades, which has resulted in significant financial losses for local businesses. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government of Canada has been committed to supporting businesses and entrepreneurs and will continue to help them with the supports they need to recover.

Today, the Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced a up to $20-million investment to provide non-repayable contributions to Ottawa businesses who have suffered losses due to these illegal blockades.

Small businesses will be able to apply for non-repayable contributions of up to $10,000 for non-deferrable operational costs not covered by other federal programs.

Invest Ottawa, a not-for-profit organization, will be collaborating with key partners in the region, including the Ottawa Board of Trade and the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas, to deliver this support so that businesses who were unable to operate at normal levels can access support quickly. More information on the application process and eligibility criteria will be available on the Invest Ottawa website in the coming weeks.

Today’s announcement reinforces the Government of Canada’s commitment to helping communities, families and businesses continue to build a strong and resilient economic recovery. 


“We have heard the growing concerns and frustrations from many of the Business Improvement Associations and small businesses in Downtown Ottawa that were forced to close, or have seen their business drastically impacted due to the illegal blockades in Ottawa. Our government’s investment of up to $20-million to Invest Ottawa will help local businesses get the support they need to recover.”
The Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“Small businesses are the heart of our nation’s capital. Our government is supporting those that have had to shut their doors to protect their workers and customers as a result of these illegal blockades. As we have done since the start of the pandemic, we will be there to support small businesses, entrepreneurs, and workers in their time of need.”
The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development

“Our local businesses have shown incredible resilience throughout the pandemic, and especially during the past weeks, which have been incredibly difficult. Many Downtown Ottawa businesses have been forced to close their doors or have seen a significant decrease in business, which has resulted in loss of revenue. Today’s announcement demonstrates our government’s commitment to making sure our local businesses have the relief funds they need to recover.”
The Honourable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board

“Local businesses in my community of Ottawa Centre continue to suffer due to the ongoing illegal occupation of Ottawa’s downtown core. For weeks, many have closed their doors to ensure staff safety and security of their shops. We have, and will continue to be there for small businesses and workers throughout the pandemic. I am glad that with these federal funds, businesses in Ottawa’s downtown core will be able to recover from the impacts of these protests and continue serving our community.”
Yasir Naqvi, Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre

“It is an honour for Invest Ottawa to contribute to this critical initiative and support the vital businesses in our downtown core impacted by the current crisis. Building directly on our mission, we strive to help these companies at the heart of our community address significant challenges, survive and thrive once again. In collaboration with the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas, the Ottawa Board of Trade and fellow partners, we look forward to helping business owners negatively impacted by recent events receive the critical support they need to continue building their business, our community, and economy.”
Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, Invest Ottawa  

Quick facts

  • Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has worked with thousands of startups, scale ups and SMEs, helped firms to attract more than $990 million in capital; contributed to the creation of over 11,000 jobs and attracted more than a billion dollars in foreign direct investment.

  • The Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, the Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program and the Local Lockdown Program are also available and could provide wage and rent subsidies, and the Canada Recovery Hiring Program has been extended until May 7, 2022.

  • If workers have been without work and without pay for at least 7 consecutive days in the last 52 weeks, they may be eligible for Employment Insurance. They can apply for EI online as soon as they stop working, even if they do not have a Record of Employment yet. Visit the website or call 1-800-206-7218 to reach the Employment Insurance Telephone Information Service.


Monica Granados
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
(343) 552-2375

Allison Watson
Media Relations
FedDev Ontario

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