Canada United program to help small business cope with the costs of restarting

Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Windsor Star/Dave Waddell


Small businesses strapped by the COVID-19 crisis could soon see a much-needed boost with non-repayable grants of up to $5,000 being made available to help them restart operations under a new program announced Wednesday.

The chambers of commerce across Canada have teamed up with the Royal Bank and other corporations to create the Canada United movement to support small and medium-sized businesses battling through the pandemic.

“It’s a move to offer additional support by the private sector,” said Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Rakesh Naidu.

“Bigger companies are looking to help small and medium-sized businesses because they realize how vital they are to the economy. They understand it is in their interest to support them because of the critical role they play in the supply chain.”

Having gone months without revenues, small businesses are being hit with additional costs to comply with the measures that will allow them to open their doors.

“The grants can be used for any reconstruction, purchase of PPE (personal protective equipment) or cover the costs from complying with health and safety guidelines or to buy the tools to improve their e-commerce platforms,” Naidu said. “The program is open to all small and medium-sized business across the country.”

Naidu said the program is very similar to the Rebuild, Reopen, Revive concept the federal government announced on Friday. That program was aimed at helping women-led businesses with non-repayable grants to defer the costs of re-opening.

Planning for the privately led campaign started a couple weeks ago through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and its members. It has since grown to include chambers across the country.

The Royal Bank recently agreed to join as lead sponsor and has committed to offering up to $2 million in funding.

For every viewing of the Canada United video or like of posts from @GoCanadaUnited on social media and use #CanadaUnited the Royal Bank will donate five cents.

The video can be seen at

The website also contains more information on eligibility, applications and program details for small businesses.

Naidu said applications would be accepted beginning in early August.

“Canada United was created to kick-start an economic rebound by rallying consumers to give local businesses the support they need to re-open during these uncertain times,” said Neil McLaughlin, group head of personal and commercial banking with Royal Bank of Canada.