The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) has been set up by the federal government to provide financial help to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 the RRRF loans provided by FedNor, which is northern Ontario’s Regional Development Agency. (For details on the RRRF program for southern Ontario, please refer to our blog here.)
FedNor will deliver over $100 million of the national $2.08 billion RRRF to eligible SMEs in northern Ontario.
Applications to the program will be accepted until June 30, 2021, or until such time that the Fund is fully committed.
What kind of financial support is available under RRRF?
- Financial loans (interest-free, repayable, and conditionally repayable loans) up to a maximum of $500,000 over a 12-month period. These will help SMEs with operating costs, where business revenues have been adversely affected by the pandemic.
- Funding for operational costs, such as but not restricted to lease payments for existing equipment and machinery, property taxes and utilities.
- Support (normally non-repayable) to eligible not-for-profits and First Nation band-owned businesses whose articles of incorporation don’t permit dividends to be paid or distributed to shareholders.
How do I know if I qualify for a RRRF loan?
Financial support is available to northern Ontario SMEs that don’t qualify for or were rejected by other federal COVID-19 relief programs.
Those that can show need for extra support may apply even if they received funding from other programs. But RRRF support will only provide costs not covered by these programs.
What costs are eligible under the program?
The program will only consider operating costs as eligible. These include:
- Commercial rent/mortgage (eligible only if not already supported by the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program or the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy program)
- Rent or lease of equipment and machinery
- Salaries and benefits (only if not eligible or rejected by the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program)
- Property taxes
- Cleaning supplies
- Additional safety measures
- Bank interest/charges and loan repayments
- Office supplies
- Vehicle operating costs
- Professional fees
- Insurance costs
- Other fixed overhead expenses and one-time stabilization expenditures
What is the loan application deadline?
The deadline to apply is June 30th, 2021, or until the Fund is fully committed. Please note that applications will be assessed on a first-come first-served basis.
What is the eligibility criteria?
To qualify for the RRRF loan through FedNor, you must be:
- Based in northern Ontario
- A Canadian or provincially incorporated business, Indigenous organization such as Indigenous/First Nation/Métis Settlement owned business
- Not-for-profit organization providing technical assistance to businesses (for e.g., chambers of commerce, industry, or sector associations)
- Not-for-profit sector organization providing liquidity support to businesses (for e.g., PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise)
- Not-for-profit sector organization engaging in commercial or other economic activities requiring liquidity support (for e.g., tourism organizations)
- Facing funding issues with operational costs because of the pandemic
- Planning to continue operating your business or resume operations
- Still able to show need for additional support if you received funding from other programs
- You must have applied to other federal COVID-19 relief measures, for which you are ineligible or rejected
FedNor has put aside a minimum of 25% of all RRRF funding to support local tourism businesses.
What about the RRRF funding available through local CFDCs?
CFDC funding is for SMEs, particularly rural main street businesses and small/micro enterprises (including sole proprietors and social enterprises). These must be in communities serviced by a CFDC. CFDCs will offer loans usually up to a maximum of $60,000.
Will I have to repay the funding?
All loans provided to SMEs are repayable or conditionally repayable. Repayment is expected to start after December 31, 2022.
Recipients must repay the loan in instalments over a maximum term of five years from the date they received the first payment. Please refer to the program guidelines for more details.
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