GORE BAY – The Lacloche-Manitoulin Business Assistance Corporation (LAMBAC) has been provided some extra funding through FedNor under the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) funding program to help businesses who have been unable to access existing relief measures due to COVID-19, but even that may not allow them to keep up with the demand.
“We are swamped,” stated Mike Addison, general manager of LAMBAC, late last week. “So many businesses are struggling because of the pandemic. For instance, some are open, but can’t have as many customers in their store at one time, and that for is having an effect.”
Mr. Addison explained, “we did get additional funding through RRRF, but at this point we aren’t allowed to say how much.” He noted to get a maximum of $40,000 in funding, a business will have to have tried to get financial support from banks and other federal programs first, or if they need more than $40,000 in support they have to prove it is needed.
“If a business did receive $40,000 from, say, a bank and can show they need more, we can help,” he said. This would be in the form of a loan and none of the funds lended could be forgiven.
Mr. Addison noted previously that $25 million has been provided for Northern Ontario Community Futures Development Corporations (of which LAMBAC is one), so there will be about $1 million for each CFDC. “And we can provide loans up to $40,000 for businesses to make it through. The problem is if every business asks for the limit of $40,000, we will only be able to help 22 clients. We have 100 clients that we work with currently. We are hoping businesses will ask for only what they need; we are hoping they are looking for $15,000 in funding—that will allow us to help more businesses.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in uncertainty and anxiety for businesses and their employees. Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the heart of our economy and our communities. That is why the government of Canada has implemented a series of concrete and tangible measures to help them retain their employees, pay rent and access capital to pay their bills.
Building on these measures, the new RRRF is being delivered through the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, technology, tourism and others that are key to the regions and local economies.
To get funding a business will have had to be viable as of March 1, 2020, added Mr. Addison.