Downtown Ottawa businesses impacted by demonstrations can apply for Government of Canada support as of March 15

News release

Invest Ottawa to open application intake for up to $10,000 non-repayable contributions for eligible downtown Ottawa businesses as they recover

March 11, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario

Businesses in Downtown Ottawa were hit hard by illegal blockades in our nation’s capital. Many businesses were unable to open their doors and as a result suffered financial losses. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government of Canada has supported small businesses and entrepreneurs and will continue to help them with the supports they need to recover.

Today, on behalf of the Hon. Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, the Hon. Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board, alongside Yasir Naqvi, Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, announced that the application portal for the Downtown Ottawa Business Relief Fund will open on March 15, 2022. This announcement builds on the $20 million Government of Canada investment, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), to support local businesses who suffered losses due to the illegal blockades.

With this FedDev Ontario funding, Invest Ottawa, in collaboration with key partners in the region, including the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA) and the Ottawa Board of Trade (OBOT), will provide non-repayable contributions of up to $10,000 for costs not covered by other federal programs.

This contribution will ensure that businesses can recover costs such as utilities, insurance, bank charges, loss of inventory (e.g., spoiled food), wages, rent, and other extraordinary costs related to the repair or protection of a business due to the demonstrations.

To support the most vulnerable small businesses, eligible businesses impacted by the demonstrations will need to: be located in the central districts of Ottawa; have at least one and fewer than 100 employees in downtown areas; have been unable to operate their business at normal levels from January 22 through February 2022; have intended to provide in-person client services during the demonstrations and could not transition to virtual services in the short-term; and be fully open, operating and providing in-person services at the time of application.

Additional details on eligibility criteria will be available on the Invest Ottawa website when the application intake opens. Interested stakeholders can subscribe for updates on the Downtown Ottawa Business Relief Fund website.

The Government of Canada is committed to helping small businesses and local communities recover and together work hard to build a strong and resilient economic recovery for Canadians.


“The illegal blockades in Ottawa devastated local small businesses and their communities. With this $20-million Government of Canada investment, almost 2,000 Ottawa businesses will get the vital support they need to move forward and recover.”
- The Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“Today’s announcement marks an important step in ensuring our local Ottawa businesses have access to the financial support they need to recover. The launch of Invest Ottawa’s application portal announced today will boost our local economy and help businesses to rebound from the hardships of the past several weeks.”
- The Honourable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board

“Local businesses in my community have gone through an incredibly challenging time throughout the illegal blockades of our downtown, in addition to what they had gone through over the past two years of the pandemic. Businesses and entrepreneurs continue to show their resilience. With this Government of Canada investment, delivered by Invest Ottawa and their partnership with OCOBIA and the Ottawa Board of Trade, our local businesses will be able to access further support to help them recover from the impacts of these protests.”
- Yasir Naqvi, Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre

“We are honoured to deliver the Downtown Ottawa Business Relief Fund on behalf of FedDev Ontario in collaboration with OCOBIA and OBOT. It enables us to take collective action to support small businesses at the heart of our community when they need it most. This Fund will help companies negatively impacted by the recent demonstrations recover and restore operations, employment and revenue as quickly as possible. This is critical to the future of our region and our citizens. These small businesses are powerful engines of economic growth that connect and strengthen our community.”
- Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, Invest Ottawa

“Our downtown Ottawa businesses endured a destabilizing pandemic for two years and were then paralyzed during the occupation. Businesses and their staff were negatively impacted for weeks, with many shutting operations entirely.  We are grateful for Canada's expeditious response through FedDev Ontario and providing access to critical funds for hundreds of businesses with our partner, Invest Ottawa."
- Michelle Groulx, Executive Director, OCOBIA

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.

  • Businesses eligible for this support will need to meet the eligibility criteria outlined by Invest Ottawa that will be available in the coming days.

  • 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.

Associated links


Monica Granados
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Isabella Brisson
Acting Director of Communications and Press Secretary
Office of the President of the Treasury Board

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario

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