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Government of Canada provides targeted support for business to help maintain over 11,000 jobs in British Columbia

Press Release

From: Western Economic Diversification Canada

Funding provides BC entrepreneurs with the advice and tools they need to mitigate COVID-19 impacts on their businesses.

November 13, 2020 – Quesnel, British Columbia – Western Economic Diversification Canada

From the outset, the Government of Canada has taken action to support businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to protect their contributions to the Canadian economy. One measure of support is the $1.5 billion Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), delivered by Canada’s Regional Development Agencies and intended for small- and medium-sized enterprises that have been unable to access other federal relief measures, putting jobs and livelihoods at risk.

The pandemic has created new barriers and challenges for BC businesses, including access to capital, and there has been strong demand for RRRF funding. The traditional broad range of supports available to entrepreneurs through the business ecosystem, such as industry associations, are also subject to their own pandemic-related challenges. These not-for-profit organizations, best placed to identify and nurture locally relevant initiatives that meet regional needs, are struggling at the time that they are needed most.

Support for the business ecosystem

Today, the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Digital Government and Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra, announced over $1.7 million for business ecosystem support in BC. This RRRF funding for seven organizations will ultimately support enterprises in all stages of the business lifecycle, from nurturing start-ups to the ongoing development of mature firms. Many of the programs being funded are already under way, bringing immediate support for local companies, and making a difference for families and communities across the West.

Today’s funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is expected to help maintain more than 11,000 jobs in businesses across the province, and is part of the government’s commitment to create one million jobs across Canada.

For example, the Community Futures Development Association of BC will receive $1 million to create economic support programs for small and medium-sized enterprises in communities impacted by mill closures. Recent mill closures and curtailments – exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic – have had a devastating impact on businesses in remote, resource dependent communities. Funding is expected to provide 190 small businesses with training, mentorship and operational costs, helping to maintain 760 jobs over the next six months.

This RRRF funding complements existing programs offered by WD, such as the WES Ecosystem Fund and the Regional Innovation Ecosystems (RIE) program. RRRF will help industry sectors retain the knowledge and skills of valuable employees, and maintain the capital flows and supply chains needed to build back better in an economic recovery.

Quotes

“Businesses all across Canada have been hard hit hard by COVID-19. That’s why, through Regional Development Agencies like Western Economic Diversification Canada, the federal government is providing businesses vital support, and saving thousands of jobs. Our government committed to create one million jobs, and I want to assure British Columbia business owners and workers that while we manage this health crisis, we will be there to support you for as long as it takes, with whatever it takes, and we will get through this together.

– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“Many key industries in BC have faced incredible challenges since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our government relief measures, such as RRRF, are designed to provide a lifeline to these industries, and the thousands of small businesses that operate within them. We’re dedicated to preserving and creating good, local jobs, sustaining the livelihoods of British Columbians, and helping the Western economy come back strong.”

– Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Digital Government and Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra

“The Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic which began in the late 1990s resulted in the loss of millions of hectares of pine forest in North-Central BC.  Massive forest fires in 2017 and 2018 added to the devastation, resulting in the permanent closure of many sawmills, and the loss of thousands of jobs.  The CFBC is excited to support small businesses affected by these closures with training, coaching and mentoring programs designed to help them become more efficient and to pivot to new opportunities.”

– Wendy McCulloch, Executive Director, Community Futures British Columbia

Quick facts

  • The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) was established to mitigate financial pressure experienced by businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and assist them to continue their operations and keep paying their employees.
  • In the West, over $567 million in RRRF support is flowing through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD).
  • Through RRRF, WD is providing repayable interest-free contributions to eligible western firms seeking up to $40,000.
  • Through RRRF, WD is also providing up to $1,000,000 in interest-free funding to cope with financial hardship resulting from COVID-19.
  • Many business support organizations have been vital resources for local businesses to first, adapt to lockdown regulations, and then, to be ready as the economy began to open up. Through RRRF, WD is funding programs to help companies adapt to COVID-related requirements and new ways of doing business.

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Associated links

Contacts

Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
catherine.mounier-desro[email protected]

Western Economic Diversification Canada
Media Relations
[email protected]

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