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Chamber joins program providing up to $5K to local businesses

CanadaUnited, sponsored in part by RBC, will donate five cents per social media interaction of the program's videos, between Aug. 28 and Aug. 30.
Charla Robinson
Charla Robinson, president of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, on Thursday, July 30, 2020 says the Canada United program could be a real boom to many local businesses. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce has joined a countrywide campaign to encourage the buying public to shop local.

Canada United, sponsored in part by RBC, will provide five cents per share or like of social media posts from @GoCanadaUnited, up to a total of $2 million, which will be put into a business relief fund and distributed to local businesses later this year. It's similar to the annual Bell Let's Talk campaign. 

Companies can receive up to $5,000, money that will help offset some of the costs related to COVID-19 recovery.

Charla Robinson, president of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, said the program couldn’t have come at a better or more necessary time.

“What we’re doing is trying to show some local love to local businesses,” Robinson said.

“It’s a great opportunity for everybody in Thunder Bay to support locally-based businesses, not only by getting out and shopping local, but also through their social media streams, sharing and liking and getting the message out there.

“Then that money will go into a fund that local businesses can access as well.”

Businesses are in a precarious position, Robinson continued.

“A lot of the programs that have been available so far, either required businesses to take on new loans or those grant programs will be winding down at some point. Businesses are trying to plan, not only for today, but also for the future as to how (they’re ) going to manage some of the extra costs,” Robinson said.

That could include the added cost of hand sanitizer for indoor spaces, or having masks available for staff and customers.

“Any time there’s a way that businesses can access new money, that’s free money, that they don’t have to pay back later is a great thing. We’ve already seen recent Stats Canada Data that came out that said 30 per cent of respondents to that national survey said they don’t think they’re going to survive a full year,” she said.

“So that’s a pretty significant amount of businesses that are wondering where there future is.”

Small business owners who are interested in the program can visit to learn more about grant application details, eligibility criteria, and to apply.

The Canada United program will take place from Aug. 28 to Aug. 30.

We feel privileged to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce and alongside government, corporate Canada, and other business associations throughout Canada as we rally around Canada at a time when it matters most,” said RBC Vice President Matt Simeoni, in a release issued on Thursday.

“Canada United is a movement that calls on all Canadians to put our shoulder behind our business community by buying local and I take great pride in knowing that Thunder Bay is a community that knows what ‘it means to come together and lean on one another when needed.”

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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