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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: May 13th, 2020, 4pm

Information on government grants, resources, and programs, and how to apply for them, is available here.
The Government of Canada has a support page with summaries of current programs and application portals.

Vital updates:

  • The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) announced on April 17 is now open. The RRRF provides financial contributions (interest-free loans) to help support fixed operating costs of SMEs, where business revenues have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund, valued at more than $962 million nationally, is delivered by Canada’s six regional development agencies. In southern Ontario, $252.4 million is available as follows:
    • $213 million for SMEs facing financial pressure; and
    • $39.4 million to provide rural businesses with access to capital and business support, delivered by southern Ontario’s Community Futures Development Corporations.
  • Eligible applicants who are SMEs facing financial pressure must:
    • Be a Canadian or provincially incorporated business, co-operative or an Indigenous-owned business located in southern Ontario with 1 to 499 full-time equivalent employees;
    • Be facing funding pressures with fixed operating costs as a result of COVID-19;
    • Have been a viable business before the COVID-19 pandemic and plan to continue to operate their business or resume operations;
    • Have already applied to other Government of Canada emergency credit relief measures for which they are eligible, as outlined in the program guidelines.
    • Priority may be given to SMEs in the manufacturing, technology, tourism and other sectors key to the region, that are major employers in small communities or that support the government’s commitment to underrepresented groups. Applications can be submitted for fixed operating costs where business revenues have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants should review the program guidelines and frequently asked questions before applying.
  • Applicants who are rural businesses needing support with access to capital must be:
    • Established prior to March 1, 2020;
    • Impacted adversely by the COVID-19 pandemic;
    • Viable and not experiencing other financial difficulties prior to March 1, 2020; and
    • Have attempted to access other federal relief supports and were ineligible, rejected, or require funding for expenses that have not been supported, with priority given to applicants who were ineligible or rejected from other federal relief supports.
    • Applications can be submitted to Venture Niagara in northern Niagara, and Niagara Business & Innovation Fund in southern Niagara.
  • The Canada-U.S. border is slated to re-open on May 21, however, Premier Ford today stated that he wanted “to keep it closed.” Prime Minister Trudeau said that Canada will be “very careful” about any potential re-opening.
  • Premier Ford said that he wants people to “get ready for stage one” of re-opening the province. Despite his statement earlier that an announcement would be made on Thursday (tomorrow), today, the Premier remarked that “we aren’t quite there yet.”
  • The Prime Minister announced that students will be able to apply for the previously-announced Canada Emergency Student Benefit on Friday.

Reading recommendations:


If you are showing symptoms, you must self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days. Call a public health authority immediately. Do not visit any healthcare provider in person before you have been directly advised to by public health authorities.

It is important that everyone practice physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Remain at home unless absolutely necessary. Minimize contact with other people. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Avoid touching the face. Maintain a 2-meter distance from others if you are required to be out in public. If you have recently traveled outside the country, you are legally required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Previous updates can be accessed here.

Stay safe and be vigilant. The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have.