COVID-19: $962 million additional support fund now available to businesses and communities affected by the pandemic

News release

Government of Canada will support more small businesses and communities with targeted assistance delivered by regional development agencies

May 13, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario Government of Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in uncertainty and anxiety for small businesses and their employees in all regions of Canada. These businesses are at the heart of communities nationwide and are a source of local jobs and local pride.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, which 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 cover costs. Building on these measures, the new Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) devotes nearly $962 million to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and to local economies.

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, today announced that the RRRF is now accepting applications from businesses and communities. It is specifically targeted toward those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic but have been unable to access existing support measures. Canada’s businesses are as diverse as Canadians are, and the fund’s immediate, concrete help will be tailored to their unique needs. Most importantly, it will relieve pressures, helping them pay employees and cover costs. In the months to come, it will position them to play a meaningful role in our economic recovery.

The best way to help Canadian communities is through a source they already trust, which is why the six regional development agencies (RDA) will be delivering this funding. Covering every region of Canada, the RDAs are very familiar with the economic realities of their regions and are well suited to assist workers and businesses.

The funding will be allocated as follows:

The funding announced today is part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which commits more than $149 billion to support Canadians and businesses through this difficult time. As other government measures are further strengthened, the RDAs will adapt to meet the ongoing needs of local businesses.

Businesses interested in receiving support through this initiative are now invited to apply for the RRRF through their local RDA.


“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, Minister responsible for the Regional Development Agencies and Member of Parliament for Ahuntsic-Cartierville

Quick facts

  • The six regional development agencies (RDA) 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.

  • This special initiative delivered through the RDAs is part of Canada’s COVID‑19 Economic Response Plan, which is providing up to $149 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

  • CanNor’s portion of the RRRF will build on the supports provided by the agency’s Northern Business Relief Fund (NBRF) to fill further needs for immediate relief for SMEs and to ensure the stability of businesses in sectors that are vital to the recovery of the Northern economy.


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

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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