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Ottawa pumps more pandemic relief to Northern businesses

Feds tack on $22.3 million to regional recovery fund

Ottawa is upgrading its pandemic recovery fund for Northern Ontario businesses.

With the second wave of COVID-19 underway, Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Mélanie Joly announced an additional $22.3 million for FedNor to help businesses and organizations in Northern Ontario recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

The funding flows from the additional $600 million in Regional Relief and Recovery Fund funding announced earlier.

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), which helps support those who may not be eligible for other programs.

Since the fund was launched in May, more than 12,000 businesses have been assisted to keep employees and cover costs. It's provided relief for more than 762 businesses and organizations in Northern Ontario and maintained more than 3,300 jobs in the region. the government said.

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The funding will be available through the Community Futures Development Corporations across the region.

FedNor was originally allocated a total of $49.5 million through RRRF. This announcement brings the total funding for Northern Ontario businesses and organizations to $71.8 million.

“Small and medium sized businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19, and the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund is here to help them, protecting over 3,300 jobs across Northern Ontario," said Joly in a statement. "

"With the second wave upon us, we’ve heard clearly from businesses and workers that more support is needed. That’s why we’re enhancing and expanding the RRRF to help even more people in Northern Ontario. Our message to them is clear: we’ve been here for you with significant measures, we’re here for you now and we’ll get through this, together. We’re working with you to support good, local jobs and help our economy come back strong.”

Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan, Joly's parliamentary secretary, said in a statement he's heard about the challenges many businesses are facing.

"The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund will enable FedNor and its partner Community Futures Development Corporations to continue their good work by investing directly in small and medium-sized businesses that need a hand up to effectively address the challenges posed by COVID-19 and work toward recovery.”