Heather Lawless and Tom Russell at Leeds & Grenville Economic Development Summit (November 22, 2019 at Kemptville, Ontario) – Submitted Photo
Leeds-Grenville – Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has introduced several measures to support businesses, organizations, workers and communities as part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
To further assist businesses, the organizations that support them and the communities in which they operate, the Government of Canada recently announced over $1.7 billion in additional funding. This includes the $962 million Regional Relief & Recovery Fund (RRRF) which provides $675 million in financing support to small businesses that are unable to access previous COVID-19 programs and $287 million to support rural businesses with access to capital through Community Futures Development Corporations.
Small businesses are at the heart of our economy and the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in uncertainty and anxiety for businesses and their employees. On May 13, 2020, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced that southern Ontario businesses can now apply for support through RRRF in the hopes that it will provide considerable relief for those who are in need and have yet to secure the support they require. Over $39 million has been made available to CFDCs in southern Ontario.
Ms. Joly notes that “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 1000 Islands Community Development Corporation and the Grenville Community Futures Development Corporation are pleased to participate in this important Government of Canada initiative by providing interest free loans to help support fixed operating costs for small businesses whose revenues have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses may be eligible for support through interest free loans of up to $40,000 not repayable until December 31, 2022 and with a portion forgivable upon repayment.
Locally, the two Community Futures Development Corporations will focus on providing assistance to sole proprietors, main street businesses (such as retail shops, restaurants, corner stores and social enterprises) as well as businesses of strategic importance.
Heather Lawless, Executive Director of Grenville CFDC expressed her appreciation for the new funding stating “we are very thankful that the Government of Canada continues to place its trust in CFDCs and we will do everything in our power to help those in need.”
Tom Russell, Executive Director of 1000 Islands CDC suggested that the funds will be well received locally. “We work closely with many businesses across the area and we know they are hurting. This fund will offer some welcome relief.”
Additional information and funding applications are available at www.ticdc.ca and www.grenvillecfdc.com and businesses are strongly encouraged to apply early as funds are limited.
Editor’s Note: for those in the North Leeds area there is the Valley Heartland Community Development Corporation.
The Grenville CFDC and the 1000 Islands CDC:
• deliver a wide variety of programs and services to support community economic development and small business growth;
• employ local staff;
• are governed by volunteer boards of directors, made up of local residents representing the community at large;
• have lent tens of millions of dollars to hundreds of businesses;
• have delivered millions of dollars in economic stimulus programming helping to drive local economies forward;
• have assisted in the creation and maintenance of thousands of jobs across each of their respective service territories.