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FedDev Ontario’s Regional Relief & Recovery Fund for Small Businesses

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The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. RRRF provides financial help to businesses to stay operational and recover from the pandemic.

In February 2021, the federal government allocated an additional $500 million to RRRF. This takes the total support under the Fund to over $2 billion across Canada, with 25% of the funding reserved for the tourism sector.

This also means that businesses already receiving RRRF support could now get up to $20,000 in additional funding if they’re eligible.

Eligible businesses and organizations can access these funds through their provincial regional development agencies and the Community Futures Network of Canada.

This blog provides details on FedDev Ontario’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund for southern Ontario.

What kind of financial support is available under RRRF?

The RRRF provides liquidity support to eligible businesses and organizations. It offers help with fixed operating costs so that businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can run smoothly.

The funds needed must be for expenses incurred or predicted from March 15, 2020, to September 30, 2021. The financial support provided will not exceed $1 million per eligible organization.

Please note that if you are a business or not-for-profit organization involved in commercial activities, you’ll have to repay the fund.

If you are an economic or business support organization, the support will generally be non-repayable.

What costs are considered eligible under the program?

Eligible costs may include:

  • Capital lease payments for existing equipment and machinery
  • Salaries and benefits (only if not eligible or supported by other available federal relief programs)
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities
  • Bank charges and interest payments
  • Professional fees
  • Monthly insurance payments
  • Rent
  • Cleaning costs/ personal protective equipment/ safety measures
  • One-time stabilization expenses. These include sanitary and distancing measures. Such costs may also include one-off adaptation costs related to operating during the pandemic).
What are the funding options available to applicants?

There are 2 funding options available on applying through FedDev Ontario:

First: Up to $60,000 conditionally repayable interest-free loan

If the loan you’ve taken is $40,000 or less, 25% to a maximum of $10,000 may be forgiven provided that 75% (or up to $30,000) is repaid by December 31, 2022.

OR

If your loan is above $40,000 up to $60,000, the forgivable amount is the same as above for the first $40,000 (i.e., 25%) and for all amounts over $40,000, 50% to a maximum of $10,000 is forgivable given that all required amounts are repaid by December 31, 2022.

If you fail to pay back the required balance by December 31, 2022, the remaining loan will convert to a three-year repayable loan with no forgivable portion.

Second: Up to $1 million fully repayable, interest-free loan

The loan amount will generally support six months of eligible and supported fixed operating expenses, up to a maximum loan amount of $1 million.

For more information, please refer to the program guidelines.

How much RRRF funding has been allocated to southern Ontario?

Southern Ontario has been allotted $536.4 million under the program.

What is the application deadline for RRRF loans?

Applications will be accepted until June 30, 2021, or until the Fund is fully committed. Applications will be considered on a first-come first-served basis.

How do I know if I qualify for a RRRF loan?

You could apply for an RRRF loan if you applied to other available federal relief measures and were unsuccessful. Or if you were able to secure funds but continue to face financial difficulties and need additional support.

If you have received funds from other federal relief measures, RRRF funding will only be offered for eligible costs not covered by these programs.

What is the eligibility criteria?

To be eligible to apply for an RRRF loan through FedDev, you must be at least ONE of the following:

  • A Canadian or provincially incorporated business, co-operative, partnership, or an Indigenous-owned business with 1 to 499 full-time employees
  • Organizations, including social enterprises, that are involved in commercial activities as a major portion of operations (i.e., the exchanging of goods or services)
  • Chambers of commerce, business or sector associations and other economic development organizations that support businesses.

That meet the following criteria:

  • Are based in southern Ontario
  • Are dealing with funding pressures with fixed operating costs, because of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Have applied to other federal COVID-19 relief measures for which they are eligible (as listed in the program guidelines)
  • Were operational before March 15, 2020
  • Are financially viable
  • Plan to continue or resume operations
  • Have an active business chequing/operating account.
What about the RRRF funding available through local CFDCs?

Funding available through local CFDCs is for rural main street businesses, such as restaurants, retail stores, etc., and sole proprietors. If you are a rural business seeking $60,000 or less in support, you should apply for RRRF through your local CFDC.

Small and medium businesses that need support above $60,000 should apply directly to FedDev Ontario.

You can’t get RRRF funding from both FedDev Ontario and a CFDC.

Need support navigating business issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our experts can help you develop company policies as well as with any other HR, health and safety, or employment advice you may need. See how we have helped other small and medium businesses get their business compliant with provincial legislation.