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Regional Relief and Recovery Fund for Alberta & BC Small Businesses


*Blog update: Applications are no longer being accepted.

The federal government’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) provides financial support to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fund is available to businesses that applied to other COVID-19 relief programs and were unsuccessful. Or that received support but are still experiencing financial hardship.

Those eligible can access these funds through their provincial regional development agencies and the Community Futures Network of Canada.

The support available under the Fund is over $2 billion across Canada, of which 25% is reserved for the tourism sector.

Nearly $710 million of RRRF funding has been allocated to western Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba).

In western Canada, the RRRF is available through Western Economic Diversification Canada.

What is the deadline for applying to the program?

Applications will be accepted until June 30, 2021, or until the Fund is fully committed.

What is the eligibility criteria?

There are four categories of eligibility:

RRRF Community Futures Stream

Community Futures (CF) offices are assisting rural businesses applying for funding of $60,000 or less. For funding requests of more than $60,000, businesses should apply through Western Economic Diversification Canada.

Eligible rural businesses should apply through the website of their local CF organization, or their provincial Community Futures website (BCAlberta).

What are the requirements for eligibility?

You are eligible if:

  • You are a small- or medium-sized enterprise (SME) from a non-metropolitan region in western Canada.
  • You can attest that you have not received duplicative supports through other federal or provincial government COVID-19 support programs such as the Canada Emergency Business Account.
  • You were a viable small business and not experiencing any liquidity or other financial issues as of March 1, 2020.
  • You must have experienced an adverse effect on business operations on or after March 1, 2020, because of the pandemic.
  • Your business was established before March 1, 2020.
  • You are a social enterprise, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or other similar organization.
What costs are eligible?

Eligible costs may include:

  • Lease payments for existing equipment and machinery
  • Salaries and benefits (only if the business has not received support under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy)
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities
  • Bank charges and interest payments
  • Office supplies
  • Vehicle operating costs
  • Professional fees
  • Monthly insurance payments
  • Rent (applicants are expected to pursue with their landlord access to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses)
  • Other fixed operating expenses applicable to the applicant.
What are the repayment terms?
  • Maximum funding provided will be $60,000
  • 0% interest and no principal payments until December 31, 2022
  • Principal repayments can be voluntarily made at any time
  • If you repay the outstanding balance on or before December 31, 2022, the following percentage of the contribution will be forgiven:
  • 25% on the first $40,000; and
  • 50% on amounts above $40,000 and up to $60,000
  • The forgivable portion is only available if the entire outstanding amount is repaid by December 31, 2022
  • If you are unable to repay the loan by December 31, 2022, the loan will be converted to a three-year term loan with interest rates up to 5%, effective January 1, 2023. The full balance must be repaid no later than December 31, 2025.
Women’s Enterprise Initiative Stream

Rural or urban women-owned or women-led businesses (including sole proprietors and social enterprises) should apply for funding through Women’s Enterprise Initiative (WEI) organizations. WEI will provide loans up to a maximum of $60,000.

For loans over $60,000, women-owned, or women-led businesses must apply through Western Economic Diversification Canada.

What are the eligibility requirements?

You are eligible if:

  • You are a small or medium-sized women-owned or women-led business.
  • Eligible applicants include sole proprietors and “main street” businesses, such as retail shops, restaurants, etc., and businesses of strategic importance to the community.
  • You must also attest to the following criteria:
  • Your business was set up before March 1, 2020
  • It was impacted adversely due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Your business is viable and was not experiencing financial hardships before March 1, 2020
  • You are ineligible, and/or not receiving other federal relief support for the same expenditures.
What costs are eligible?

Eligible costs are the same as those mentioned above for loans available through the Community Futures stream.

RRRF funding for all other small- and medium-sized businesses

Eligible SMEs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021) can receive an interest-free repayable loan of up to $60,000.

The goal is to provide financial support to SMEs that don’t qualify for the Canada Emergency Business Account program, or the “RRRF – Community Futures Stream.”

To apply to this category, you must first apply for initial funding of up to $40,000 based on your company’s operating deficit (total operating costs minus revenue) from April 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020.

Once you do so, you’ll be invited via email to apply for the expansion funding of up to $20,000 based on your company’s operating deficit from October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

For more details on the eligibility criteria and repayment terms, please refer to the program page here.

RRRF funding requests up to $1 million

To help small businesses with the capital they need to navigate the financial hardships caused by the pandemic, Western Economic Diversification Canada is helping eligible businesses with interest-free repayable funding of up to $1 million.

RRRF liquidity support may help with eligible operating costs up to a maximum of 12 consecutive months. The funding is repayable and interest free.

Every application will be reviewed against the criteria set in the assessment approach. Only those with the highest evaluations will get funding.

Businesses must meet the following mandatory criteria:

  • Have less than 500 full-time employees
  • Operate in Canada
  • Were operational as of March 1, 2020
  • Located in western Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, or Manitoba)
  • Suffered financially because of COVID-19 pandemic
  • Can show 2019 revenue, or be pre-revenue businesses that received angel or venture capital funding
  • Plan to continue operations in western Canada
  • Can explain the financial impact that COVID-19 has had on operations, and how the funding will help support the western Canadian economy to:
  • Retain diverse and valuable talent
  • Maintain sector knowledge and skills
  • Maintain capital flow
  • Maintain critical supply chains and increase capacity to withstand supply chain disruptions
  • Protect technologies and processes that improve resilience, productivity, and/or competitiveness
  • Protect vital intellectual property
  • Must have previously applied for funding from all other federal COVID-19 support measures for which they are eligible, such as HASCAP Guarantee, Co-Lending Program, Working Capital Loan, Oil and Gas Sector Capital Loan, and Export Development Canada’s Business Credit Availability Program

Sole proprietorships and not-for-profits are not eligible.

What are the repayment terms?

The following repayment terms will be applicable:

  • 100% of contribution must be repaid
  • No scheduled monthly repayments are required until after December 31, 2022
  • Three-year repayment period, beginning January 2023
  • The full balance of the loan amount must be repaid no later than December 31, 2025
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.