Government of Canada supports 1200 jobs in northern Alberta through targeted help for businesses

News release

More than $3.2 million to help local small businesses in northern Alberta
More than $3.2 million to help local small businesses in northern Alberta

Funding provides northern Alberta entrepreneurs with the advice and tools they need to mitigate COVID-19 impacts on their businesses.

November 12, 2020 – Edmonton, Alberta – Western Economic Diversification Canada

From the outset, the Government of Canada has taken action to support businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to protect their contributions to the Canadian economy. One measure of support is the $1.5 billion Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), delivered by Canada’s Regional Development Agencies and intended for small- and medium-sized enterprises that have been unable to access other federal relief measures, putting jobs and livelihoods at risk.

The pandemic has created new barriers and challenges for northern Alberta businesses, including access to capital, and there has been strong demand for RRRF funding. The traditional broad range of supports available to entrepreneurs through the business ecosystem, such as industry associations and chambers of commerce, face their own pandemic-related challenges. These not-for-profit organizations, best placed to identify and nurture locally relevant initiatives that meet regional needs, are struggling at the time that they are needed most.

Support for the business ecosystem

Today, the Honourable Jim Carr, the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor for the Prairies, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), announced over $3.2 million for business ecosystem support in northern Alberta. This RRRF funding for 17 organizations will ultimately support enterprises in all stages of the business lifecycle, from nurturing start-ups to the ongoing development of mature firms. Many of the programs being funded are already under way, bringing immediate support for local companies, and making a difference for families and communities across the West.

Today’s funding supports over 1,200 jobs through the programs they deliver. This contributes to the Government’s campaign to create one million jobs, restoring employment to previous levels.

For example, funding is enabling the Alberta Chambers of Commerce to help local chambers outside of Edmonton and Calgary to increase their capacity to deliver supports and services, while also engaging with businesses directly to better understand how to strengthen small business resiliency. In addition, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce will provide digital knowledge and skills training to members to improve their resiliency to future economic shocks. In the Fort McMurray region, Community Futures Wood Buffalo is developing and delivering a coaching and professional services program for businesses affected by COVID-19, the 2020 Spring Flood, and other economic challenges. 

This RRRF funding complements existing programs offered by WD, such as the WES Ecosystem Fund and the Regional Innovation Ecosystems (RIE) program. RRRF will help industry sectors retain the knowledge and skills of valuable employees, and maintain the capital flows and supply chains needed to build back better in an economic recovery. 

Quotes

”Businesses all across Canada have been hard hit hard by COVID-19. That’s why, through Regional Development Agencies like Western Economic Diversification Canada, the federal government is providing businesses vital support, and saving thousands of jobs. Our government committed to create one million jobs, and I want to assure northern Alberta business owners and workers that while we manage 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 Western Economic Diversification Canada 

"I want to assure northern Alberta business owners and workers that while we manage this health crisis, we will be there to support you for as long as it takes, with whatever it takes.” Hon. Mélany Joly

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“I’ve been talking with entrepreneurs and with employees across the Prairies. They are all worried, but they are all hopeful. Canadians have a strong spirit, and it’s that spirit that we are supporting. With these funds, business organizations will be better able to help entrepreneurs and small businesses survive the pandemic and come out strong on the other side."

The Honourable Jim Carr, the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor for the Prairies

"Canadians have a strong spirit, and it’s that spirit that we are supporting. With these funds, organizations will be better able to help small businesses survive the pandemic and come out strong on the other side." Hon. Jim Carr

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Quick facts

  • The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) was established to mitigate financial pressure experienced by businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and assist them to continue their operations and keep paying their employees. 

  • In the West, over $567 million in RRRF support is flowing through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD).

  • Through RRRF, WD is providing repayable interest-free contributions to eligible western firms seeking up to $40,000.

  • Through RRRF, WD is also providing up to $1,000,000 in interest-free funding to cope with financial hardship resulting from COVID-19.

  • Many business support organizations have been vital resources for local businesses to first, adapt to lockdown regulations, and then, to be ready as the economy began to open up. Through RRRF, WD is funding programs to help companies adapt to COVID-related requirements and new ways of doing business.

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Associated links

Contacts

Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
catherine.mounier-desrochers@canada.ca

Western Economic Diversification Canada
Media Relations
wd.media-medias.deo@canada.ca


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