Rural and Business Community Recovery (RBCR) Program

Even with BC’s restart plans underway, your business may still need a hand recovering from the pandemic. We can help.

The Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce, its board and our partners commend the region’s business community for its resilience through these remarkably challenging times. We also understand that recovery is going to take some more work.

Here for you from the pandemic’s start, the Chamber can help your business overcome hurdles like decreased profitability, debt load, reduced capacities, staffing shortages and the need for additional rent/mortgage assistance. We can also help you work within the amount of time left for programs that your business has been relying on.

Here’s a quick overview of the resources still being offered by government and community development agencies. You may already know about these.

If not, there are details on 29 grant and loan programs on the opposite page, plus a direct contact for advice on how to get started, and tips that’ll make the application process easier.

If you’re already up to speed on the programs being offered, the Chamber wants to know which of them are working for you, and what you need going forward.

As the representatives for all the business sectors of Nelson and its surrounding communities, we’ll take your input and concerns to the right level of government, and advocate for change.

Need a hand navigating it all? We can connect you with the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce Business Recovery Advisor, or others who’ll have the answers.

Business Recovery Assistance Survey

Help us now. So we can help you: There’s a vital Business Recovery Assistance survey at this link — It’ll only take 10 minutes. Or call us and we’ll fill it out with your input. Your feedback is confidential.

What do you need help with:

Wages, Rent and General Operations?

  1. Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy Program (CERSP)
    Rent subsidy for those businesses with a CRA business number as of September 2020 who experienced a drop in revenue and have eligible expenses. Extended until Sept. 25, 2021.
  1. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
    Partial coverage of employee wages, for employers who have seen a drop in revenue during the pandemic. Extended until Sept. 25, 2021.
  1. Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) – PROGRAM CONCLUDED
    Interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits through their financial institutions.
  1. Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant – PROGRAM CONCLUDED
    Fully funded grants to BC hospitality, fitness and accommodation businesses impacted by the Provincial Health Officer orders March 31 and April 23 2021 Emergency Programs Act (EPA) order.
  1. Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant – PROGRAM CONCLUDED
    Fully funded grants to BC businesses that show a 30% revenue loss from March 2020 to now compared to the same period in 2019
  1. Basin Business Advisors Program (BBA)
    Supports entrepreneurship and builds economic capacity in Basin communities by helping with resource and support programs, reviewing cash flow and budgeting, marketing, online selling, and pivoting businesses, farm and agri-food operations and social enterprises.
  1. Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) — Three options – PROGRAMS CONCLUDED
    For businesses affected by the pandemic that have been rejected by or were unable to access other federal pandemic support programs, or that continue to have liquidity needs.

    7a. Community Futures Stream
    Interest-free loans up to $60,000, with up to $20,000 forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022, to small and medium size businesses in rural communities.

    7b. Women’s Enterprise Initiative Stream
    Interest-free loans up to $60,000, with up to $20,000 forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022, to women-owned or women-led businesses.

    7c. Small and Medium Sized Business Stream
    Interest-free repayable contribution of up to $60,000 for businesses outside of the Community Futures network, not women-owned or women-led, that are ineligible for Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

  1. Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP)
    Business Development Bank of Canada loans for small and medium-sized businesses that have seen their revenues decrease by 50% or more. Extended from June 30 to Dec. 31, 2021.
  1. Support for Women Entrepreneurs
    Vancity Unity Women Entrepreneurs Program
    Loans of up to $100,000 to women entrepreneurs who have been in business for more than a year, possible $20,000 line of credit for those operating more than six months.
  1. Support for Indigenous Businesses – PROGRAM CONCLUDED
    Indigenous Business Initiative (Proposed extension until June 30 2021)
    Small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses may qualify for funding up to $60,000 including interest-free loans up to $40,000 and non-repayable contributions up to $20,000.

    Support for Indigenous Community-Owned Businesses
    First Nation, Inuit and Metis communities and collectives can apply on behalf of businesses for non-repayable contributions to cover specific business costs.

  1. Canada Recovery Hiring Program
    (Open until (to June 5, 2021, proposed extension until Sept 25)
    Rent subsidy of up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses to qualifying organizations that have experienced a decline in revenue until June 2021.
  1. Work BC Wage Subsidy
    Covers a part of employee wages so employers can hire job seekers and provide work opportunities, for unemployed individuals and employers.
  1. Work BC Employer Training Grant
    Cost-shared program with reimbursement amounts between 60% and 100% depending on the training stream, which must result in a better job at the applicant’s company once training is completed.
  1. Magnet Student Work Placement Program
    Provides employers with wage subsidies to hire post-secondary students for paid work experiences.
  1. Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP).
    Applicants can quickly improve their cash flow through their bank or credit union to help manage day-to-day expenses like buying inventory and paying your suppliers.
  1. Tourism Relief Fund – NEW
    The Tourism Relief Fund, administered by Canada’s regional development agencies and Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), supports tourism businesses, non-profits, and organizations to adapt operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate future growth. Program open now. Expires March 2023 or until funds have been utilized.
    Tourism Relief Fund in Western Canada (


  1. Canada Recovery Hiring Program – NEW
    Enables businesses to hire workers they need to recover as local economies re-open. The CRHP supports payroll as businesses grow, whether related to hiring staff, increasing shifts or increasing pay. Unlike the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) — designed to help employers keep workers — CRHP is designed to encourage businesses to (re)hire and grow as the economy recovers.
  1. BC Increased Employment Incentive
    Refundable tax credit for all private sector B.C. employers to encourage the creation of new jobs or increases in payroll for existing low or medium-income employees.
  1. BC Employer Training Grant
    Offers employers 100% of eligible training costs, up to a maximum of $10,000per participant per fiscal year, to support British Columbians that are employed or have been employed in sectors impacted by COVID-19.
  1. Apprenticeship Service (proposed only)
    Employers hiring first-year apprentices in construction and manufacturing Red Seal trades would be eligible to receive up to $5,000 for all first-year apprenticeship opportunities. Incentive is doubles to $10,000 for employers who hire women, racialized Canadians, and persons with disabilities.
  1. Employment Insurance Work Sharing Program
    Provides EI benefits to workers who reduce normal working hours because of developments beyond control of their employers. The eligibility of such agreements has been extended to 76 weeks, eligibility requirements have been eased, and the application process has been streamlined.
  1. CBT Career Internship
    Provides eligible employers with up to 50 per cent of an Intern’s salary and mandatory employment related costs (up to $25,000 over a seven to 12 month term) for full-time, career-focused positions that lead to permanent employment.
  1. KCDS Virtual Hiring Supports
    Helping digitally enabled business models transition  to  virtual  recruitment, with a full suite of virtual hiring services designed to streamline the online recruitment process.

E-Commerce/Tech Advice?/Export

  1. Launch On-line Grant
    Funding to B.C.-based business to create an online shop or booking system and/or improve their existing online operations to attract new local customers and expand to new markets
  1. BC Marketplace
    The Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership has been working with getting more businesses on. There are business directories on the Chamber Discovernelson website and Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism and this On-line marketing program from Small Business BC helps businesses reach new audiences by creating their own business profile for free.
  1. Alacrity Canada Digital Marketing Bootcamp
    Provides digital marketing knowledge, tools and resources to those who own, run, or are employed by a small to medium-sized business based in and registered in BC.
  1. Covid Rapid Response Team / Digital Footprint
    Community Futures central Kootenay program available to help Nelson and area businesses and entrepreneurs improve their digital footprint, social media, search engine optimization, etc during the pandemic.
  1. Canada Digital Adaptation Program (proposed only)
    Providing small businesses with access to digital trainers and micro-grants to offset the cost of going digital. Financing for technology adoption through the Business Development Bank of Canada.
  1. Export Navigator Your market just got bigger! Grow your business beyond BC with one-on-one business support. A program administered through Community Futures.


Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce

Economic Recovery Line
Darren Davidson
Call: 250-505-9759

Basin Business Advisors

Call, toll-free: 1-855-510-2227

Community Futures CK Workforce Support

Call: 250-352-1933

Kootenay Career Development Society

Call: 1.877.952.6200 or 250.352.6200


The BC Chamber of Commerce launched the pan-provincial Resource Guide for Small Business Resiliency – a live resource to support businesses across the province in their navigation and recovery of the COVID-19 pandemic and BC’s Restart Plan.

Learn More