Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

The Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, is providing loans of up to $40,000 for eligible women-run businesses to help small businesses cope with financial hardship and recovery from economic disruption resulting from COVID-19.

Women’s Enterprise Centre is pleased to provide access to this Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to women entrepreneurs in BC. If your business is majority woman-owned and controlled, and struggling to meet working capital needs due to COVID-19, then this may be a good option for you.

This option is available for sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations.

View the announcement >>

Who is this fund for?

  • Businesses must demonstrate they were financially healthy prior to COVID-19;
  • Businesses must attest that they have applied for and either been declined or did not qualify for other government COVID-19 relief funds;
  • Businesses must demonstrate how they have been negatively affected by COVID -19;
  • Businesses must demonstrate ability to repay the debt based on historical financial information. An approved loan amount may be lower than the requested amount, based on eligible costs and ability to repay the debt.

Loan Parameters

  • Maximum assistance is $40,000;
  • 0% interest and no principal payments until December 31, 2022;
  • Principal repayments can be voluntarily made at any time;
  • 25% (not to exceed $10,000) can be forgiven, provided 75% of the original loan amount is paid prior to December 31, 2022;
  • If loan is not repaid by December 31, 2022, the loan will be converted to a three-year term loan with interest rates up to 5%, effective January 1, 2023. The full balance must be repaid no later than December 31, 2025;
  • Loan pooling is prohibited;
  • Use of funds for repayment of existing loan debt, including but not limited to a WEC loan, is prohibited.
Picture of Melanie Rupp, Director of Loans and Advisory Services
Melanie Rupp
WEC Director, Loans & Advisory Services

Eligibility Criteria

All applicants must be:

  • A woman who owns and controls at least 51% of a business that is registered and located in British Columbia
  • A Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Residing in British Columbia
  • Over 19 years old

As well:

  • Eligible applicants include sole proprietors, partnerships and corporations.
  • Eligible applicants must also meet the following criteria which will be captured in the application form:
    • Business was established prior to March 1, 2020;
    • Business was impacted adversely due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
    • Business was viable and not experiencing financial pressures prior to March 1, 2020;
    • Business was ineligible, rejected and/or not receiving other federal relief supports, such as the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) for the same expenditure
  • If you are seeking loans over $40,000 you may be eligible to receive RRRF assistance directly from Western Economic Diversification. However, you cannot receive RRRF assistance from both Women’s Enterprise Centre and directly through Western Economic Diversification.

Ineligible Projects

If a project falls into one of the categories below, it is not eligible:

  • Projects in the pre-start-up phase for which seed or early-stage capital is required
  • Any business in which the owner does not have operational control over important aspects of the business (this may include some franchises)
  • Any business for which the majority of gross revenues do not come from direct sales of the business’s products or services (i.e. Multi-tiered marketing projects)
  • Any projects that support businesses that do not operate on a for-profit basis
  • Any investment that can be considered speculative
  • Refinancing of existing debt from another lender

Eligible Costs for Support

Costs such as rent, salaries and benefits will only be considered if the applicant is rejected and/or not already receiving assistance for these costs from other federal and provincial funding measures:

  1. salaries, and benefits (will only be considered if not eligible or declined from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy) – cannot be used for owner wages;
  2. property taxes;
  3. rent (applicants are expected to pursue with their landlord access to the Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses);
  4. utilities;
  5. cleaning supplies and additional safety measures;
  6. bank interest/charges;
  7. office supplies and vehicle operating expenses;
  8. lease payments for existing equipment and machinery;
  9. professional fees;
  10. insurances; and
  11. other eligible expenses associated with retooling, rethinking workflows, automation, robotics, developing new markets, etc.; breakdown of expenses and expected outcomes required.

The use of funds for the pre-payment of existing loan debt, outside of regularly scheduled debt payments, is prohibited.

How to Apply

To apply, you will need to provide:

  1. A completed application form in the fillable PDF (please fill out the screening questions below to download the form). Scanned documents will not be accepted because some fields are not readable.
    1. Please note: We cannot accept applications with typed signatures. If you are unable to add an e-signature, please print, sign and scan the signature page of the application and the consent forms only. No other scanned pages will be accepted.
  2. Accountant-prepared year-end financial statements, including income statement and balance sheet or CRA statement of business or professional activities (T2125 if the business is a sole proprietor) for the last 2 years (2019 and 2018).
  3. Current year-to-date financial statements.
  4. 12-month cash flow projections.
  5. Copy of Business Licence
  6. Proof of Business Insurance
  7. Notice of Assessment for 2019 for all owners
  8. If incorporated: incorporation certificate, Central Security Register (showing all shares issued to date), Notice of Articles verifying the directors of the company and shareholder agreement (if applicable).
  9. Current lease (if applicable)
  10. Other, as required

How to get an application form

Please note: We are currently experiencing an extremely high volume of loan applications and we are working through them in the order they are received. We will confirm receipt of your application within a few business days of receipt, and we appreciate your patience.

To receive an application form, please fill out the questions below.

These questions will help you determine if you qualify to apply for a loan from the RRRF. Please note: these questions are only used as a preliminary tool to determine if you may qualify to apply, and your eligibility can only be determined by the loans team upon review of your application.

Pour obtenir de l’aide concernant votre demande au titre du FARR et d’autres services en français, veuillez communiquer avec la Société de développement économique de la Colombie-Britannique.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. I have already received COVID-19 assistance through a different government program. Can I apply for this fund as well?

There are limitations on this fund if you have received COVID-19 assistance through another government fund. If you received the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) then you are not eligible.

2. I have not applied for any other COVID-19 assistance but I know I don’t qualify. Can I apply for the WEC fund?

Yes you can apply, please state on your application why you are not eligible for the other programs.

3. Can I apply if I received the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)?

Yes, but rent cannot be covered in this program.

4. Can I apply if I have participated in the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)?

Yes, but wages will not be covered in this program.

5. My business was struggling financially prior to COVID-19, can I still apply?

No, your business must have been financially healthy prior to COVID-19 to apply for this fund.

6. What can I use the loan money for?

Loans are to cover fixed expenses (office supplies, COVID-19 supplies, lease payments, fees, insurances, rent- if not eligible for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance etc).

Loans can only be used for salaries and benefits if you are not eligible or have been rejected from other COVID-19 government assistance programs.

7. Can I use the funds to purchase inventory?

No, the funds are for fixed business expenses.

8. How do I demonstrate my business has been affected by COVID-19?

On the application you can describe the impact to your business.

9. I’m a not-for profit, can I apply?

You must be a for profit businesses. We will accept applications from sole-proprietorships, partnerships or corporations.

10. My business started early 2020, am I still eligible?

Your business needs to have been established prior to March 1, 2020 in order to be eligible.

11. What happens if I cannot pay 75% of the loan by Dec 31, 2022?

At that point you will have three years to repay the loan with monthly or seasonal payments at an interest rate of 5%. The loan can be repaid anytime without penalty.

12. Can I repay the loan earlier?

Yes, we encourage you to repay the loan as soon as you can. Delaying repayment may result in larger payments and more interest paid over the duration of the loan.

13. What size loan should I ask for (e.g. enough to cover costs for up to 6 months)?

You should apply for the amount you need to sustain the business and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic up to a maximum of $40,000. The six-month period can begin March 15 to cover deferred fixed expenses.

14. What if what I ask for turns out not to be enough? Can I reapply for more at a later time?

This is a one-time application and you can only apply once for funding.

15. Do I have to have a specific level of revenue to apply?

No minimum revenue is required but the business does need to be viable and your application will indicate if you are able to pay back the loan.

16. Are there any fees associated with this loan?

There are no fees to apply or receive this loan.

17. What financial statements do I need to send with my application?

You need to send a statement verifying your revenue and expenses for the last 2 years (preferably a professionally prepared income statement).

We may ask to verify this information from your tax returns.

If you have not been operational for 2 years send statements for the time period you have been operational.

18. I am arrears with CRA. Will I qualify?

With your application please send details of your repayment plan with CRA, and your assessor will discuss this with you.

19. My loan with Women’s Enterprise Centre has not been paid yet, can I use this fund to pay off my WEC loan?

This fund cannot be used to repay existing principal. It can be used to pay the interest portion monthly.

20. My loan with WEC will be paid off fairly soon, can I still apply?

You can apply if your WEC loan will be paid off prior to the RRRF payment completion.

21. Will you be checking my credit? Do I need a minimum credit score?

If you have an existing loan with Women’s Enterprise Centre we will not pull a new credit report on you. There is no minimum credit score required.

22. In the case of partnerships and corporations, what percentage has to be women-owned?

The business needs to be majority owned and operated by a woman or women (51%); except if your male partner is your husband or common-law partner then you must control a minimum of 50% of the business.

23. Can I apply if I have received Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)?

Yes, you can apply.