Gatineau businesses affected by protests to get federal relief

Freedom Convoy

Gatineau businesses affected by the protests against vaccine mandates in January and February are now eligible for up to $10,000 in federal government relief.

The feds announced Thursday that they’re giving a $500,000 grant to the Gatineau Chamber of Commerce, which will then provide funds to local merchants to cover costs directly connected to protecting their businesses during the “Freedom Convoy” protests, costs associated with lost inventory and fixed operating expenses that cannot be deferred.

Businesses can apply for up to $10,000 in funding. To be eligible, they must:

  • Be located in the Île de Hull quadrant
  • Employ fewer than 100 people
  • Offer in-person services and not have been able to operate normally due to the protests
  • Be registered in Quebec
  • Have incurred eligible expenses totalling at least $1,000.

Gatineau Chamber of Commerce executive director Stefan Psenak said the program will offer a much-needed boost to hard-hit merchants that were already reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Since the start of the pandemic and the protests, businesspeople have really been tested financially,” he said in a statement. “This financial boost will allow them to breathe a bit easier.”

Similar programs were available to businesses in Ottawa, with the province offering up $10 million in grants aimed at helping retailers, restaurants and other small businesses that took a financial hit during the weeks-long demonstrations and the federal government announcing it would provide $20 million in grants to merchants who lost sales during the protests.