Regional Relief and Recovery Fund support for Western Canadian businesses tops $154 million

News release

More than 2,400 businesses in Western Canada receive RRRF funding to protect almost 11,000 jobs and address the impact of COVID-19

September 3, 2020 – Winnipeg, Manitoba – Western Economic Diversification Canada

COVID-19 has had a severe impact on businesses of all sizes across the country, and those whose livelihoods depend on them. Across Western Canada, thousands of local businesses have faced challenges keeping their employees, paying rent and managing cash flow. From the outset, the Government of Canada has taken meaningful action to support them, including through the $962 million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF.)

Nearly doubling the budget of Canada’s Regional Development Agencies, the RRRF supports businesses that have been unable to get access to other federal relief measures, and might be in danger of falling through the cracks. In the West, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is delivering, in collaboration with the Community Futures Pan West Network, over $300 million to protect jobs, support businesses and help them play a role in our economic recovery.

Jobs and Recovery for Western Canada

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, today announced that more than 2,400 businesses in Western Canada have received over $154 million in RRRF funding, protecting almost 11,000 jobs in communities across the West.

Most of the firms supported are small businesses with fewer than 100 employees, including many local start-ups. One such firm is Winnipeg’s Vexxit Inc., which opened in January 2020 – just before COVID-19 hit. This burgeoning start-up, which is majority women owned, has a unique IP-protected algorithm to match professional services firms to clients. The RRRF has played a major role in helping it maintain its team of highly skilled employees, including data scientists and IT professionals as well as positioning it to play a role in our economic recovery.


“Businesses and workers across Western Canada have been hit hard by COVID-19, and we’re here for them. This includes major support from programs like the RRRF, so no one falls through the cracks. The funding is making a major difference for thousands of Western businesses, and protecting almost 11,000 jobs from Winnipeg to Victoria. Our message is clear: we’ve been here for you with immediate measures, we’re here for you now as our economy reopens and we’ll get through this, together. We’re working with you to support good, local jobs and help Western Canada’s economy come back strong.”

- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, MP for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“I’ve spoken with entrepreneurs throughout the West. The pain from this pandemic is real, the needs are many.  The Government of Canada recognizes this, and we’ve listened closely about how we can help western entrepreneurs survive, recover and rebound. Today’s announcement reflects our ongoing commitment to rebuild and energize the West’s small business community and protect the local jobs that are so important to Westerners."

- Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Western Economic Diversification Canada) and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Canada Water Agency)

“The funding provided by WD has allowed Vexxit to maintain momentum through the economic slowdown associated with COVID.  Being a startup that had just launched its digital marketplace matching professionals and potential clients in January, the WD funding allowed Vexxit to remain focused on the momentum that was building. As a result Vexxit has increased its marketshare locally, begun its expansion across Western Canada and has been able to hire 5 additional full time employees to meet the growing demand for the marketplace. The application process was straight forward and the staff at WD were helpful at every turn.  Thanks to the support from WD, there’s now place for people and businesses to come together and prepare as we transition into our new reality.”

- Polly Craik, Director, Vexxit Inc.

Quick facts

  • The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund was established to mitigate the financial pressure experienced by businesses and help them to continue their operations. Through its two RRRF funding streams, WD provides repayable, interest-free funds to eligible western firms seeking up to $40,000, as well as funding of up to $1,000,000 in support to cope with financial hardship resulting from COVID-19.

  • Funding announced to date supports a broad number of businesses ranging from main street businesses such as retail shops, restaurants, and corner stores to larger businesses that employ more than 100 employees.

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

Western Economic Diversification Canada
Media Relations

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