Minister Ng announces support for women entrepreneurs and visits Canadian personal protective equipment suppliers during tour of Markham, Cobourg and Peterborough

Friday, July 17, 2020

Canada Newswire

OTTAWA, ON, July 17, 2020 /CNW/ - Small businesses across the country have stepped up in the fight against COVID-19, finding innovative ways to retool their businesses to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) and support Canadians through this challenging time.

This week, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, highlighted the Government of Canada's ongoing support for small businesses during a trip to Cobourg and Peterborough.

On July 16, Minister Ng toured Markham-based PCL Graphics, a business that was able to transition its operations to supply face shields, barriers and floor signs to the community throughout the pandemic.

Today, Minister Ng visited Venture 13 in Cobourg, home of the Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC). Minister Ng announced, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, that the government is investing $4 million through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to support more than 700 women-led small and medium-sized enterprises in southern Ontario.

The Northumberland CFDC and the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation will each receive $2 million to provide non-repayable contributions of up to $5,000 to support women entrepreneurs in purchasing reusable PPE, updating workspaces to keep their employees safe and shifting their business model online in response to physical distancing guidelines.

COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women-owned and -led businesses for a variety of reasons. Their businesses tend to be smaller and therefore more sensitive to changes in the economy. Women are more likely to be represented in the sectors being hardest hit by the pandemic, such as retail, hospitality and service industries. Women face greater barriers in accessing capital and financial services.

These investments will help ensure that women entrepreneurs continue to get the support they need as we work to rebuild the national economy.

Following the announcement, the Minister had a virtual meeting with members of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce to discuss how the government is supporting entrepreneurs through the pandemic.

Later in the day, the Minister toured BCM Biodegradable Solutions in Cobourg, a manufacturer of biodegradable chemical products that is now also producing hand sanitizer.

Minister Ng was then joined by her colleague, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, to visit two local businesses in Peterborough that embody the resiliency and innovation shown by so many businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They visited AVIT Manufacturing, which has helped lead the retooling effort in the area to support the COVID-19 response. To close, Minister Ng and Minister Monsef toured the Imprinted Apparel Store, a women-owned business that has added face masks to its product lineup and shifted much of its business online in response to physical distancing guidelines.

At every opportunity during her tour, Minister Ng highlighted the wide range of government supports that are available to help businesses keep their employees on the payroll, cover rent and keep up with their operating expenses during this difficult time and as they contribute to rebuilding our economy.


"This has been a Team Canada effort from the start, and our government will continue to support businesses every step of the way as together we navigate this crisis. Whether it's family-owned businesses on main street, innovative start-ups or dynamic women entrepreneurs, our government is working hard to support Canadian businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic and to help them rebuild in the months to come."
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Quick facts

  • As of December 2019, there were 1.23 million employer businesses in Canada, of which 1.20 million (97.9%) were small, 22,905 (1.9%) were medium-sized and 2,978 (0.2%) were large.
  • To support Canadians and Canadian businesses as we fight COVID-19, the Government of Canada introduced the largest relief package in our country's history, which includes these major programs:
    • The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is providing businesses with up to $40,000 in interest-free loans through participating Canadian financial institutions. If repaid by December 31, 2022, up to $10,000 will be forgiven.
    • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is helping businesses by covering a portion of their payroll, retroactive to March 15 and with the intention of continuing support into December.
    • The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program is providing relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Over the course of the program, property owners will reduce rent by at least 75% for the months of April, May, June and July for their small business tenants.
  • In addition to broad support programs, the government's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan includes targeted measures to help tourism businesses, rural communities, artists and athletes, innovative high-growth businesses, Indigenous-owned businesses, women entrepreneurs, farmers and agri-food businesses, and more.
  • The national $962-million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund is delivered through Canada's regional development agencies and supports SMEs across Canada that have been unable to access existing relief measures. In southern Ontario, FedDev Ontario is delivering $213 million to provide short-term financial relief and help businesses recover.

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SOURCE Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

For further information: Ryan Nearing, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, 343-551-0244,; Media Relations, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, 343-291-1777,

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