The federal government will invest $33 million to encourage Canadians to Shop Local in a bid to help small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly $9 million of that amount will be invested in Ontario through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to support awareness-building campaigns that promote consumer confidence and local businesses.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and the heart of our communities and will be critical to our recovery from the COVID-19 recession,” says Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade. The Markham-Thornhill MP made the announcement at Butter Baker in Markham.
“As our economy begins to safely reopen, Shop Local investments will encourage Canadians to support their local small businesses, helping them recover quicker.”
The amount of funding allocated to each chamber is based primarily on the percentage of small businesses in its region. Chambers will be able to use the funding to support activities that encourage consumers to shop locally in a way that is safe and aligns with current public health guidelines. They can solicit applications directly from local organizations or associations or have open calls for proposals that promote consumer awareness and demonstrate benefits to the broader business community.
Chambers will also be able to tailor campaigns to local needs and priorities.
“Small businesses are cornerstones of our local economies and key to thriving communities – creating jobs, driving innovation and generating wealth for Canadians. Local businesses have always been there for us and need our support now more than ever,” says Ontario Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rocco Rossi. “Together with the help of the Government of Canada, chambers of commerce and boards of trade across the country, we can make a difference for local businesses and help move Canada’s recovery forward.”
Shop Local will supplement federal government programs like the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the expanded Canada Emergency Business Account, Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program and the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, which is delivered through Canada’s regional development agencies.
Budget 2021 proposes additional funding to help businesses recover as the economy safely reopens, including the Canada Recovery Hiring Program to help rehire and hire staff; the Canada Digital Adoption Program to assist with the cost of new technology; and changes to the Canada Small Business Financing Program to provide more access to loans.
Photo: Markham-Thornhill MP Mary Ng at Butter Baker in Markham. Photo courtesy of MP Ng’s office.