Here are the details on federal COVID-19 grants for small and medium businesses in the North

Eligible businesses can get between $2,500 and $100,000 to cover expenses like rent and utilities.

(The full list can be found in the link to the guidelines below.)

The grants are through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency’s (CanNor) Northern Business Relief Fund.

According to the fund’s guidelines, it is designed “to provide short-term relief to those businesses that have been most impacted and are the most vulnerable to permanent closure as a result of the economic disruptions associated with COVID-19.”


Businesses with 20 employees or fewer will be given priority, but those with up to 50 employees can apply to the fund.

Businesses must have been in operation since October 1, 2019 (at least) and “expect to continue operating at a loss over the coming months.”

Franchises, crown corporations, not-for-profits, and co-ops are all ineligible for the funding.

The fund does not cover costs like salaries, mortgage/rent for a secondary location, or home-based businesses.

The federal government has allocated $15 million to the program, as part of a series of northern-focused funding. 

The grants cover four month, retroactive to April 1; if your business is eligible, you’re likely to get a payment to cover the April-May period, then a second on June 1 and a third on July 1, as needed.

For more details and how to apply, click here.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis was a reporter with CKLB from January 2019 to March 2023. In his time with CKLB, he had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures.