Mr. Speaker, the regional relief and recovery fund, RRRF, provides critical support to businesses and organizations that are not eligible for other federal government COVID relief measures and was designed to be a backstop for businesses that may have fallen through the cracks, to help them continue to pay expenses and protect jobs. Demand for this program has been consistently high in western Canada and accounts for nearly half of all applications received to date. This is especially true in Alberta, which has been hit concurrently by the COVID-19 pandemic, a years-long decline in the oil and gas industry, and several natural disasters.
The statistics provided below reflect the portion of the RRRF delivered directly by Western Economic Diversification, WD, and do not include information on Community Futures and other third party delivery of this program in western Canada.
The statistics below cover the period from the launch of the RRRF in May 2020 to March 18, 2021.
In response to (a), WD has received 10,295 applications.
In response to (b), WD has approved 4,578 applications. Applicants may be declined support through the RRRF program for a number of reasons related to their eligibility, with slightly different criteria for applications below $60,000 and above $60,000. Eligibility criteria common to both types of applications include, but are not limited to, having fewer than 500 full-time employees, FTEs; operating in Canada; being operational as of March 1, 2020; being located in western Canada, defined as British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba; and having suffered financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Full details of the eligibility criteria for requests up to $60,000 can be found at https://www.wd-deo.gc.ca/eng/20060.asp, under step 1. Applications over $60,000 up to $1 million are also subject to additional assessment on ongoing financial viability, as well as a competitive process that weighs their expected impacts on the western Canadian economy. Full details of the criteria for applications over $60,000 can be found at https://www.wd-deo.gc.ca/eng/20061.asp.
In response to (c), $299,950,204 has been disbursed to approved applicants, leading to the preservation of almost 23,000 jobs.
In response to (d), the average is $65,519 per approved applicant.
In response to (e), the average is 41 business days to process applications, calculated from the date that the application is received in the portal to the date that a funding decision is finalized.
In response to (f), WD has maintained and exceeded the service time standard for all WD-delivered programs, which is under 90 business days for a funding decision.