Canadian Pizza Magazine

COVID-19 Updates News Business and Operations
Federal programs help Vancouver pizzeria and other western businesses protect jobs


Edmonton – Western Economic Diversification Canada, under the Ministry of Economic Development and Official Languages, has rolled out emergency relief programs and adjusted ongoing programs to support businesses through the pandemic period to help save jobs. Among the recipients this year was Rocky Mountain Flatbread.

The agency also worked with local networks to provide over $333 million in COVID-related support to more than 6,000 small and medium-sized businesses in 2020. At least 25,000 jobs have been protected or created as a result of this funding, the agency said in a news release. Some businesses adapted by transforming to digital platforms, others were able to keep staff on payroll when liquidity ran low, and still others paid for employee protection to work safely through the pandemic.

Among the relief programs in 2020 were Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) and Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund (CSSF).

Through the RRRF program, the agency has helped businesses struggling with the financial impacts of COVID-19 in retail, manufacturing, services, transportation, tourism, natural resources and other sectors. Eligible firms and organizations that could not qualify for other Government of Canada COVID support programs, received support in the form of no-cost loans.

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For instance, Vancouver-based Rocky Mountain Flatbread, a family pizza and pasta restaurant with six locations in Alberta and British Columbia, used RRRF funds to innovate its business and save 10 jobs. It developed a home pizza kit and started growing its own salad sprouts, which it now sells to other restaurants.

In another example, the northern tourism operators were among those who were hit hard from the travel ban. The Churchill Chamber of Commerce was provided funding to hire a liaison to assist tourism operators and small businesses with relief fund applications, adaptation strategies and implementation of safety measures. This position will help train 80 individuals and assist 50 businesses in Churchill, Man.

Meanwhile, WD continued to deliver its ongoing business support programs, providing over $100 million to start, scale-up, and grow businesses, as well as to help business support organizations serve their local entrepreneurial communities. This is anticipated to result in at least 950 new jobs, increased economic activity, and boosted exports.

Programs in 2020 included:

  • Business Scale-up and Productivity
  • Regional Innovation Ecosystems
  • Community Economic Development and Diversification
  • Canada Coal Transition Initiative
  • Canadian Experiences Fund
  • Economic Development Initiative

Western Economic Diversification Canada also engaged partners to meet the needs of under-represented sectors of the western economy, including outreach to rural businesses through Community Futures organizations, to women entrepreneurs through the Women’s Enterprise Initiative and to Francophone businesses through Francophone Economic Development organizations.