Federal government invests $12 million to support small businesses through COVID-19 relief fund

The federal government is investing $12 million into the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada’s Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Minister Mary Ng announced the new investment at a press conference Tuesday.

The fund is part of #CanadaUnited, a campaign that encourages Canadians to buy local.

The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund provides relief grants of up to $5,000 to small businesses. The grant can be used for COVID-19 recovery efforts, such as purchasing personal protective equipment, renovating physical spaces, or developing a website or e-commerce capabilities.

Minister Ng said the grants will help “thousands of small business owners,” adding that the funding is especially important as Canada enters the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund is a reimbursement program that covers eligible expenses already incurred on or after March 15, 2020. It is managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national chamber network.

Small businesses from any sector and all regions of the country with 75 employees or fewer, or with $150,000 in annual sales are eligible for support from the fund. Payments will be made within 30 business days of receipt of banking information and the signed approval letter.

The fund is part of the #CanadaUnited campaign, a nationwide small and local business campaign that encourages Canadians to buy local.

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#CanadaUnited is one of several initiatives in Canada aimed to support independent small businesses during the pandemic. Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE powered by Google program, for example, helps small businesses and artists move their storefronts online.

That initiative recently launched in Halifax. Earlier this year, Digital Main Street received a $57 million investment from the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario, which was partly used to deliver the ShopHERE program.

Image source Minister Ng via Twitter.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast