In an effort to assist businesses to adapt to COVID-19 public health guidelines, the Ontario government is providing over $1.7 million to help 85 businesses in the Kiiwetinoong and Mushkegowuk – James Bay regions.

Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry held a video conference yesterday announcing the government funding alongside a few of the businesses receiving the assistance.

"During the ongoing pandemic period, our government is standing shoulder to shoulder with northern business owners, entrepreneurs, and workers in the Kiiwetinoong and Mushkegowuk-James Bay regions. COVID-19 has fundamentally changed our day-to-day lives and how we do business. That's why our government is supporting small and medium-sized businesses as we safely and gradually reopen.” said Rickford

The Northern Ontario Recovery Program (NORP) will be delivering the funding and includes.

Sioux Lookout Floating Lodges recieved $22,400 to build an outdoor deck where social distancing measures can be met for customers waiting for their houseboats to be cleaned.

“Thank you very much to Greg for realizing the situation we were in. This project that we have done, we have wanted to do for several years. It’s been great, I’m really looking forward to the customers being able to enjoy it,” Steve Forbes owner of Sioux Lookout Floating Lodges

Pakwash Lake Camp recieved $25,000 to purchase new docking systems, a gas pump hose, a UV sanitation light, cleaning equipment, and outdoor picnic tables to accommodate social distancing.

$24,500 of the funding went to Wild Eyes Wilderness Escape to build additions on two cabins and construct a 10x20 foot dock for social distancing.

Vegan Delights Inc. recieved $22,637 to restructure its business from a catering-focused business to a manufacturing-focused retailer by retrofitting the kitchen and purchasing kitchen materials, personal protective equipment, and cleaning products. The funding will also cover registration costs for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) training.

NORP was established as a short-term program to help businesses across northern Ontario adjust to the impacts of COVID-19. Applications were accepted until November 20, 2020, and a total of 1,384 businesses have received funding. A running list of NORP funding recipients is available on the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) website.