Through provincial grants, the West Island PME MTL has been able to offer area businesses COVID-19 based relief since June. Now, another program is being offered by the federal government entitled the RRRF (Regional Relief and Recovery Fund).
The federal program via the Canada Economic Development Agency has $30 million as a budget and the deadline to register is March 31, 2021.
“It is an interest-free loan of up to $40,000 and users of the program will have two years to pay back 75% of it with the final $10,000 offered as a grant,” West Island PME MTL Executive Director Nicolas Roy told The Suburban.
The interest-free loan can be used for costs related to “cash flow, payment of utilities, rent and other fixed costs for businesses dealing with COVID 19,” said Roy.
Previous grants have been given to restaurant owners and merchants, of up to $10,000, to help pay for improvements like purchasing Plexiglas to ensure physical distancing indoors and other costs associated with businesses having to change their models to adapt to the current reality. For example, one business used part of the grant to build another door so that customers could enter one way and exit another without risk.
COVID 19 has “caused a lot off disruptions for smaller merchants who had to pay out additional costs for hygienic products, cleaning services and physical changes to their space,” Roy said.
Despite the worldwide pandemic, Roy said that some companies have been able to adapt and “even find new markets. For a lot of manufacturers, they dropped a bit in productivity but are slowly coming back.”
Due to some employees concerned with working indoors during COVID 19 in areas like “personal services, restaurants and bars, it has been a challenge to recruit new workers in some of these sectors right now,” the executive director said.
There is eligibility criteria necessary for receiving the RRRF, like having a business whose head office is based in the province.
And while the deadline is next March, Roy suggests interested merchants “apply now as the funds are limited.”
Consult West Island PME MTL online via pmemtl.com for all of the criteria and request process.