Co-op Meetup: Co-ops, Mutuals, and Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Daniel Brunette, Director of Advocacy and Partnerships at Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) led our May 8th Co-op Meetup and shared his vast knowledge of federal financial programs and supports are currently available to co-operative businesses. Along with reiterating that co-ops have equal access to all federal COVID-19 emergency financial programs and supports, Daniel highlighted that it is extremely important that all businesses work with their current credit unions and/or banks when seeking access to credit as it is their primary financial institutions that will be working with the BDC/EDC on their behalf. Contacting the BDC directly will only result in long wait times before being redirected to work with your current financial institutions.

Other key highlights included:

  • New Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) which is being delivered by regional development agencies (RDAs) to support SMEs that are unable to access existing relief measures, particularly in rural or remote communities;
  • How to define “for-profit” and “not-for-profit” for co-ops;
  • Specific sector support programs such as the first-ever Surplus Food Purchase Program, a $50 million fund designed to help redistribute existing and unsold inventories, which could include perishable food products such as milk and cheese, to local food organizations who are serving vulnerable Canadians;
  • Canada’s Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA);
  • the recent $4 billion agreement across all provinces and territories to top up payments for low-wage essential workers; and more.

Daniel also provided useful tips and time estimates such as an approximately 2 hour wait time if contacting CRA over the phone for technical issues, an average payment processing time of 22 days, and an important reminder to ensure that your My Business account with CRA (if you have one) has up to date contact information to prevent any additional delays.

Download the presentation slides here. Many thanks to CMC for compiling these resources!


Watch the full video recording of our Co-op Meetup: Co-ops, Mutuals, and Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Plan