COVID-19: FedNor launches Regional Relief and Recovery Fund to support local economies

News release

Businesses across Northern Ontario unable to access existing relief measures can now apply for funding under new initiative

May 13, 2020 – Sudbury, ON – Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario – FedNor

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in uncertainty and anxiety for businesses and their employees. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are at the heart of our economy and our communities. As a source of local employment and pride, they play a key role in the well-being of communities across the country. That is why the Government of Canada has implemented a series of concrete and tangible measures to help them retain their employees, pay rent and access capital to pay their bills.

Building on these measures, the new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is being delivered through the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and local economies. RDAs are best positioned to provide this additional support because they work closely with communities across the country every day and are familiar with diverse local realities.

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced that Northern Ontario businesses that are unable to access other existing measures can now apply for RRRF support through FedNor. As the RDA for Northern Ontario, FedNor will work with key partners, such as Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) across the region to help businesses get through these difficult times. A total of $49.5 million will be available for the region’s businesses.

The Government of Canada’s efforts are making a difference for many local businesses, but some are still falling through the cracks, and are still ineligible, particularly in rural and remote communities. This is where the RRRF comes in, with $962 million – including $49.5 million for Northern Ontario – to support businesses economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that cannot access existing measures. This is the case, for example, for SMEs in the tourism sector that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and are, in some cases, ineligible for other federal programs.

Canada’s businesses are as diverse as Canadians are, and the immediate, concrete support available through the Fund will be tailored to their unique needs. This will allow them to be in a position to play a meaningful role in our economic recovery in the months to come.

For more information on the RRRF, please visit the FedNor website.


"No matter how wide we extend the safety net, businesses across Canada continue to slip through the cracks. Many entrepreneurs are still anxious about whether they will get the help they need. With nearly a billion dollars in support across the country, the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund will fill in some of the gaps. Our message to Canadians is clear: we are here for you now; we will be here for you in the weeks and months to come; and we will get through this together. We’ve got your back."

- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor

“Northern Ontario communities and businesses continue to demonstrate their courage and resilience during these difficult times. The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund will enable FedNor and its partner Community Futures Development Corporations to support a broad range of projects that will help us overcome the significant hardship brought on by COVID-19 and rebuild our economy for the long-term.”

- Terry Sheehan, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, the Honourable Mélanie Joly

“Small and medium-sized businesses have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This investment in the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) will capitalize on Community Futures Development Corporations’ unique position and expertise to help support rural businesses and entrepreneurs during these challenging times.”

- Shawn Heard, President of CF Ontario and General Manager, East Algoma Community Futures Development Corporation

Quick facts

  • The six regional development agencies (RDAs) ensure that Canada’s regions are heard in Ottawa, and that local economies and businesses get the support they need to grow and prosper.

  • Canada’s RDAs focus on developing and diversifying regional economies to help communities thrive. Already a major presence in communities, they know where additional support is needed most.

  • Northern Ontario businesses and organizations that have applied for but were unable to access existing federal COVID-19 relief programs are encouraged to review the RRRF eligibility requirements or to contact FedNor for more information.

  • The funding announced today is provided through FedNor’s programs, which supports projects that promote sustainable community economic development, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate innovation.

Associated links


Alexander Cohen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Barclay Babcock
Communications Officer

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