NORTH BAY — Vic Fedeli, MPP for Nipissing, has announced more than $2.9 million for 145 businesses across the Nipissing region to help support necessary upgrades and improvements to protect employees, customers, and the community from the spread of COVID-19. The funding is being provided through the Northern Ontario Recovery Program (NORP).

“We need a healthy workforce to rebuild our economy and these grants will help keep businesses and their employees safe during the pandemic,” said MPP Fedeli. “This funding, exclusively for northern businesses, is an example of the Ontario government’s commitment to the North.”

To date, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) has approved NORP funding for over 1,300 businesses throughout the north and counting. NORP grants have been delivered to businesses across a variety of sectors, including tourism, food service, and retail. A running list of businesses in the Nipissing region that are in receipt of NORP funding can be found on the corporation’s website.

The NOHFC accepted NORP applications until November 20, 2020. The funding is helping businesses adjust to the impacts of COVID-19 and includes projects such as:

  • Building renovations and new constructions
  • Customer and employee safety installations
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) purchases
  • Marketing for new business initiatives
  • Restructuring of business operations

“As the province continues to respond to the ongoing challenge of the global pandemic, our government will continue to support our business owners, entrepreneurs, and workers,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development, and Mines. “There is no denying that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on businesses throughout Northern Ontario and this program is delivering targeted funding so they can continue to serve their communities.”

All other NOHFC programs closed on September 30, 2020, to allow the corporation to focus exclusively on NORP. The Ontario government launched new and improved NOHFC programs on February 11, 2021.

“Normally, our business depends on an international clientele traveling to North Bay, which was made impossible by COVID-19. With our normal business operations disrupted at the same time that we were in expansion mode, NORP funding has been a real shot in the arm, helping us to keep our doors open and our staff employed,” said Mark Downey, CEO, Fur Harvesters Auction Inc., North Bay.

“Receiving this funding has enabled The Original Bug Shirt Company to restructure the inside of our workplace, thereby allowing us to retain all of our employees during COVID-19,” said Julie Gohm, Owner, The Original Bug Shirt Company, Powassan.

“During this pandemic, we’ve all been through a lot. We knew we would have to make changes in our operation, yet we lacked the funds to do so. With this grant, we’ve been able to complete all renovations and increase safety measures for guests and staff “  said Sudawan and Qaisar Butt, Owners, Le Voyageur Inn, Mattawa.