Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a major new wave of financial support — amounting to over $1 billion — to help some of the sectors hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as assistance for small businesses and people working in the arts, culture, and sports sectors.
“Over the past few weeks, the pandemic has created anxiety and uncertainty for all Canadians, but some are going through an especially tough time. COVID-19 has brought many industries to a halt, and workers across the country are struggling as a result,” Trudeau said during his daily briefing outside of Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.
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On Friday, Trudeau announced $1.7 billion will go toward cleaning up orphan wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, which he says will maintain 5,200 jobs in Alberta alone.
Trudeau also announced the establishment of a $750 million emissions reduction fund that will focus on cutting methane. The prime minister said this would create and maintain up to 10,000 jobs that will help cut pollution. The fund will also include $75 million to help the offshore industry cut emissions in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Just because we’re in a health crisis doesn’t mean we can neglect the environmental crisis,” said Trudeau.
The prime minister went on to announce the government will provide $962 million to regional development agencies to help small and medium-sized businesses in rural areas that do not qualify for the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA).
“More businesses and smaller employees in rural areas need to get the proper support,” Trudeau said.
An additional $270 million was announced to support Futurpreneur and the Industrial Research Assistance Program, which will support innovators and other early-stage development firms that aren’t eligible for the government’s wage subsidy.
“There are many other firms in the country that don’t qualify for the wage subsidy but still need help,” Trudeau said.
$500 million was also announced for Heritage Canada, which will go toward supporting people working in the arts, culture and sports sectors.
We’re working day and night to make sure everyone gets through this challenging time. And today, I’m announcing new supports to make sure more people get the help they need. Watch live: https://t.co/DcPJV1bkW7
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 17, 2020
The new funding is in addition to the federal government’s previously announced programs targeting struggling businesses, including the 75% wage subsidy for businesses of all sizes, charities, and non-profits and the government’s interest-free backed loans of up to $40,0000 for businesses that have a payroll between $20,000 and $1.5 million a year as part of the CEBA.