FedNor supports Northwestern Ontario businesses and workers to help them recover from the impacts of COVID-19

News release

Canada’s federal COVID-19 Economic Response plan provides $7.4 million to support nearly fifty small and medium-sized businesses through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

November 12, 2020 – Thunder Bay, ON – Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario – FedNor

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, designed to stabilize the Canadian economy during the global pandemic, has helped protect millions of jobs, provide emergency support to families, and keep businesses afloat. One of its key programs, the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) delivered through the Regional Development Agencies such as FedNor, has assisted nearly 14,000 clients across Canada including more than 4800 women-owned or operated businesses and 2500 tourism businesses. In Northern Ontario alone, it has supported more than 777 businesses and organizations – including 267 tourism, 110 women-owned or operated and 60 Indigenous businesses – helping them mitigate the financial pressures caused by the pandemic while maintaining more than 3,300 jobs in the region.

Funding to bolster workers and businesses in the Kenora, Rainy River and Superior North regions

The Government of Canada is continuing to do all that it can to provide support to those who need it the most. That is why the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North, and Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, today announced that nearly $7.4 million has been provided to support businesses and organizations in Northwestern Ontario facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister for FedNor.

Today’s funding, provided through the RRRF, is enabling 48 small and medium-sized businesses, and organizations such as the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, Superior Country and Ontario’s Sunset Country Travel Association, to bridge the financial gap caused by the pandemic. The RRRF, which is still accepting applications, provides financial contributions to help support businesses and organizations with their operating costs, where revenues have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of today’s RRRF announcement, FedNor is also providing financial support to the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre to create a safe working environment for staff and clients by meeting COVID health and safety protocols. This included purchasing furnishings and personal protective equipment to ensure that the Centre can continue to operate and provide its services to local businesses.


“Our government is committed to doing whatever it takes to protect critical jobs here in Northwestern Ontario and across the country to put COVID-19 behind us as quickly as we can, and then to foster the strongest, most resilient, innovative, globally competitive and inclusive economy possible.”
- The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North

“Businesses all across Canada have been hard hit hard by COVID-19. That’s why, through Regional Development Agencies like FedNor in Northern Ontario, the federal government is providing businesses vital support, and saving thousands of jobs. I want to assure Northern Ontario businesses that while our government manages this health crisis, we will be there to support you for as long as it takes, with whatever it takes, and we will get through this together. “
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor 

 “I am pleased to be part of a government that recognizes the challenges that small and medium-sized businesses in Northern Ontario are facing and is doing everything in its power to limit job losses and business closures. Our plan is to work with businesses to ensure that they can come roaring back, stronger than before.”
- Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River 

“This funding is a lifeline for organizations like ours. This bridge financing will enable us to weather the coronavirus recession and to be there to promote tourism in Ontario’s Superior Country Region and attract visitors to the region as restrictions ease and more people are willing to travel.”
- Dan Bevilacqua, Executive Director, Superior Country 

“It’s essential for businesses and organizations such as ours to adapt quickly to the new realities created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The RRRF enabled us to not only keep our operations going, but also to continue to assist local businesses and entrepreneurs, albeit remotely at this time.
- Kendall Williams, Executive Director, Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre 

Quick facts

  • In Northern Ontario, FedNor has an allocation of $71.8 million through RRRF

  • Delivered by the six Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), the Fund addresses gaps left by other federal relief measures, and complements those already provided by other levels of government.  

  • Recognizing the significant impact that COVID-19 has had on tourism in Northern Ontario, FedNor has invested nearly $13.8 million in RRRF funding throughout the region to support the recovery and growth of this important industry.  

Associated links


Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Barclay Babcock
Communications Officer

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