The City of Montréal has announced an increase in the Emergency Assistance to Small and Medium-Sized Businesses program for companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. An additional $50 M will be made available to businesses within the agglomeration of Montréal.
Over the course of 2020, the City of Montréal received a total of $70 M under the auspices of the Aide aux entreprises en régions en alerte maximale (AERAM – Assistance for Businesses in Regions at Maximum Alert) component of the Québec government’s Emergency Assistance to Small and Medium-Sized Businesses program. Demand has grown to the point that the initial total was practically exhausted by the end of the year. The City now has access to an additional amount so that it can continue to help businesses survive this difficult period.
Administration of the program and the granting of financial assistance to businesses have been entrusted to PME MTL and its six service hubs, which represent a support network for Montréal businesses.
According to Luc Rabouin, Executive Committee member responsible for economic and commercial development, and design: “The continuity of the Emergency Assistance program for SMEs is crucial during these difficult economic times. With this second lockdown, businesses need this extended financial aid. These amounts will give them rapid access to liquid funds, which is a critical element in terms of ensuring the survival of many businesses. We would like to thank the Québec government for responding quickly to the additional need for emergency assistance in Montréal. The program will be in place until April 30, 2021, and we encourage businesses that have been affected by a lack of funding to contact the PME MTL team in their area.”
Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation, points out that “Montréal is a driving force behind the Québec economy, and many of its businesses are currently experiencing hardship because of the pandemic. Our goal is to provide them with support, as we have done since the beginning of the crisis. The additional financing that we are announcing today for Montréal businesses will enable us to continue our commitment to the business community and adjust the support that we provide to them in accordance with the real needs of Québec entrepreneurs.”
Chantal Rouleau, Minister for Transport and Minister Responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region, adds: “The repercussions of the pandemic are impacting the economic health of our metropolis. The current situation requires rapid and targeted intervention to support entrepreneurs who are affected by the crisis. By increasing the financial assistance designated for Montréal, we are contributing to the survival of thousands of businesses that create employment and wealth. It is essential to provide them with support during these difficult times so that they can rebound and take part in the upcoming relaunch of our economy.”
A much-needed helping hand
The imposition of health measures has resulted in the forced closure of many businesses, along with significant economic impact. Thanks to this program, businesses that are subject to an order to close now have access to additional financial assistance in the form of a $50,000 loan, thus increasing the threshold of emergency assistance available to SMEs to $150 000.
Small and medium enterprises in all sectors can apply for this financial assistance, including cooperatives and social economy enterprises with market activities. The City has the option of applying an additional four-month moratorium on capital and interest, adding to the already planned three-month moratorium. Businesses that are subject to an order to close pursuant to the Public Health Act may see up to the equivalent of 80% of the loan they received converted to a grant, for a maximum of $40,000 for a $50,000 loan.
Overview of the assistance already available to businesses through the PME MTL network
4 emergency assistance programs totalling $105 M, of which $102.5 M has already been parceled out among 2,955 businesses:
- The provincial assistance program has led to $69.9 M being shared among 1,720 businesses;
- The federal assistance program has led to $27.4 M being shared among 752 businesses;
- Grants offered to retailers by the City of Montréal have led to $3.5 M being shared among 410 businesses;
- Within the context of the City of Montréal’ Social Economy Development Fund, the addition of $1.7 M has enabled 73 businesses to receive assistance.
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