• John Jantak

Federal relief funds available for small to medium-sized Vaudreuil-Soulanges businesses


PHOTO COURTESY SHUTTERSTOCK

Funding from the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is available for small and medium-sized Vaudreuil-Soulanges businesses that may not have been eligible for the Canada Emer­gency Business Account (CEBA) loan.

Small and medium-sized business owners in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region who have had to shut down their operations since mid-March because of COVID-19 are eligible to apply for financial assistance through a federal government initiative to help them regain and maintain their financial liquidity. This funding from the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is intended for businesses that may not have met the criteria to apply for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan.

A total of $71.3 million has been earmarked for various regions throughout Quebec and is geared specifically towards small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), said Élisabeth Brière, Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke and the Parliamentary Secretary for Quebec Economic Development during a telephone interview with The Journal on June 15.

‘We are here to help them’

“We listened to people’s concerns every day,” said Brière. “We realized there are some businesses that fell through the cracks. We are here to help them maintain their liquidity if they have a lack of available funds. We will provide loans with beneficial terms.

“Small and medium-sized business owners throughout Vaudreuil-Soulanges region can apply through the Société d'aide au développement de la collectivité du Suroît-Sud (SADC),” Brière said of the non-profit organization located in Valleyfield.

“People can call or visit their offices to get the help they need. It’s easy and everything is set up for people to get the money they need,” she added.

Out of the $6,358,000 set aside for the Montérégie region which includes Vaudreuil-Soulanges, just over $1 million has been set aside for the SADC du Suroît-Sud. The funds available through the SADC will be especially helpful to business owners who have been unable to get assistance under previous financial assistance programs, said Brière.

SME financial aid program

The financial aid program is applicable to all SMEs that have been undergoing financial difficulties since March 15 up until the end of December, 2020 and 75 per cent of the loans will have to be paid back by December 2022. “For example, if someone borrows $40,000, they will only have to reimburse 75 per cent of that amount,” said Brière.

The new federal financial assistance program for SMEs is coming in at the right time, according to Brière. “It’s something that people in the area need. We’re speaking about the hair dressers, restaurant and convenience store owners. We want to be there for them,” she said.

Tourism sector also affected

The tourism sector has also taken a hard hit because of COVID-19. “We listened to what they said and we know it will be terrible for them. It will be a long time before things get back to normal so we want to give them the assistance they need,” said Brière.

The financial burden currently facing SMEs was further exacerbated because big-box stores were able to remain open during the COVID-19 shutdown whereas small businesses and retailers had to stay closed until the provincial government slowly started lifting lockdown orders.

“I’m sure our financial relief measures will help them,” Brière said. “We’ve many positive comments so far. We are also very happy to work with the SADC du Suroît-Sud. They are first-rate allies. We know they are there to help small businesses.”

For more information, consult sadc-suroitsud.org

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