COVID- 19: Montréal implements new concrete measures to support businesses hit hard by the pandemic

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Montréal, May 7th, 2020 – Since the start of the pandemic, the city has implemented a series of economic measures (In French) to support Montréal businesses, including a $5M emergency assistance fund for targeted industries. The fund enables the city to offer a new series of measures to support retail businesses, social economy enterprises and cultural businesses that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The current situation has had a major impact on Montréal businesses. Since the start of the crisis, the city has been quick to act. Today, we are announcing additional measures in the form of subsidies to provide direct assistance to retail businesses, as well as social economy enterprises and businesses in the cultural sector,” explained Montréal Mayor Valérie Plante.

“Local merchants are resilient and are doing everything they can to get organized, change their processes and adapt to the situation, in order to survive the downturn in business triggered by the health crisis. The city has been there from the start to support them. We heard the call from merchants, and the new measures announced today are the result of a collaborative effort that enables the city to provide them with support thanks to concrete solutions,” said Luc Rabouin, the executive committee member responsible for economic and commercial development, and design.

Subsidies for merchants

As commercial activities are set to restart imminently, and sanitary and social distancing measures will be imposed on business establishments, the city is investing $2M in a temporary subsidy fund to support merchants.

●      A temporary subsidy fund is created, dedicated to merchants and managed by the PME MTL network. The city will contribute $2M to the fund, which will be added to the current $1M balance in the Fonds entrepreneuriat commercial, increasing the available amount to $3M;

●      The fund includes flexible and accessible criteria to help commercial entrepreneurs consolidate their activities;

●      The amounts will be available until September 30, 2020;

●      Guidance will be provided by expert advisors from the PME MTL network.

Crowdfunding campaign for businesses

The city will also support a crowdfunding campaign launched by La Ruche, les Sociétés de développement commercial (SDC), business associations and Mouvement Desjardins, to assist local businesses on the urban agglomeration of Montréal territory. The Du cœur à l’achat campaign will enable the community to support businesses by purchasing gift cards that can be redeemed in stores. The city will increase the amounts of the purchases made by the public up to a maximum of $500,000, which will be given to the businesses. When Montrealers buy the gift cards, Mouvement Desjardins will donate an amount to community organizations in Montréal. The campaign could generate direct investments of $2M in local businesses and Montréal organizations.

Social economy subsidies and support

The city is reserving $2M to support social economy enterprises and is implementing new measures.

●      Direct financing of up to $50,000 in the form of a subsidy offered through the Fonds de développement de l’économie sociale (FDES), managed by PME MTL, the network that provides support to Montréal businesses;

  • Easing of the conditions for access to the FDES fund, specifically by requesting a downpayment of only 10% for consolidation projects;
  • The amounts will be used to cover various expenses associated with a business’s working capital, such as salaries, current operating expenses or payments to suppliers. Expenses incurred to adapt to the COVID-19 situation, including to switch to e-commerce, will also be eligible;

●      Free access to technical support, valued at $300,000;

  • Online financial management and human resources training;
  • Free bank of hours of personalized advisory services: legal, financial, accounting, communications, information technology, and more;
  • For these needs, the city has entered into partnerships with the following organizations that are experts in their field: Réseau Téléscope, Comité sectoriel de main d’œuvre – Économie sociale Action communautaire (CSMO-ESAC) and Consortium de ressources et d’expertises coopératives.

Support for cultural organizations

The city is reserving $500,000 to support unsubsidized private show venues, including alternative venues, as well as independent cinemas, which play a key role in the city’s cultural vitality and contribute to making neighbourhoods more inclusive and vibrant.

Note that several cultural businesses are social economy enterprises, which means, if they are eligible, they can take advantage of the measures put in place for these enterprises. Cultural businesses are also eligible for the other aid programs, such as, for example, the $40M emergency assistance program offered through the PME MTL network.

Information hotline

Businesses in all sectors that would like information about the various programs and measures in place may contact the city, between  8 a.m. and  5 p.m., from Monday to Friday, at 514-394-1793, or complete the online form (in French) at any time.

Source: Ville de Montreal 

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