MONTREAL -- The Quebec government announced new measures Friday to support businesses in the province affected by the impact of COVID-19.

The Emergency Assistance Program for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses targets SMEs that are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the crisis and who require working capital of less than $50,000.

This initiative is in addition to the Temporary Concerted Action Program for Businesses (PACTE) announced on March 19, which is aimed at businesses in need of cash in excess of $50,000 for their working capital.

An initial amount of $150 million is being made available to Quebec regional authorities to help their respective businesses, "so that they are able to maintain, consolidate or revive their activities,'' the government said in a statement.


Montreal and Quebec City will receive $40 million and $10 million. respectively, while the other regions will share $100 million.

Businesses in all industries, including co-operatives, non-profit organizations and social economy businesses engaged in commercial activities are eligible.

Quebec also announced an extension of its Local Investment Funds (FLI) for two years, until December 31, 2022.

New measures to relax the conditions for repayment of loans granted under the FLI have also been planned. It will now be possible to offer businesses an additional three-month respite for the repayment of their loan (principal and interest).

These new measures are in addition to those announced on March 19, and bring the respite period up to six months.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2020.