Announcing new support to protect Canadian jobs
This morning, I want to start by updating you on the request for assistance we received from the Government of Quebec on Wednesday night and sharing the latest information on the supply of medical equipment.
The Minister of Public Safety has worked with Quebec and the Minister of National Defence, and I can now confirm that about 125 members of the Canadian Armed Forces with health training will go support workers in long-term care facilities.
We will continue working with the Government of Quebec to find other ways to support them, including with the Red Cross and the specialized volunteers who have registered with Health Canada.
In terms of medical equipment supplies, Bell Canada has donated 1.5 million N95 masks and we are working as quickly as possible to send them to our front-line workers.
This is in addition to the millions of surgical masks that we sent to the provinces and territories this week.
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.
From the start, our goal as a government has been clear – to help all Canadians get through these challenging times.
As I’ve said many times before, we’re here to support you. To lend you a helping hand when you need it most.
Across the country, Canadians are standing shoulder to shoulder and we’re all in this together.
Today, our government is announcing more help for workers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, BC, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
We’re also announcing more help for small businesses. And more help for those who work in the arts, culture, and sports sectors.
I’ll start with the energy sector.
Right now, workers and families are struggling because of things beyond their control.
Both the devastating effects of the pandemic and the price war driven by foreign interests are a challenge.
As a result, companies have had to slow down or pause their operations, leaving too many people out of work.
To help these workers, our government will invest $1.7 billion to clean up orphan and inactive wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and BC.
These wells, which are no longer in use, can be detrimental not only to our environment, but to people’s health.
Think of the farmer who can’t grow anything on his land because of an abandoned well a few steps away from his home.
Think of the small town or Indigenous community struggling with this issue that has been festering for years or even decades.
Cleaning them up will bring people back to work and help many landowners who have had these wells on their property for years, but haven’t been able to get them taken care of and the land restored.
Our goal is to create immediate jobs in these provinces, while helping companies avoid bankruptcy, and supporting our environmental targets.
In Alberta alone, these investments will maintain 5,200 jobs.
We’ve listened to the concerns of landowners, municipalities, and Indigenous communities who want to make sure that the polluter pay principle is strengthened and that their voices are heard.
I want to thank the government of Alberta for working with us and listening to their concerns.
Our government will also establish a $750 million Emission Reduction Fund, with a focus on methane, to create and maintain jobs through pollution reduction efforts.
This includes $75 million to help the offshore industry cut emissions in Newfoundland and Labrador.
This fund will primarily provide repayable contributions to firms to make them more competitive, reduce waste and pollution, and most importantly, protect jobs.
Right now, many energy firms are experiencing a cash crunch, so they don’t have the funds to invest in technologies to reduce emissions or fix methane leaks.
Today’s announcement will allow for this kind of work to be done and create jobs people need during this difficult time.
Through the wells and methane initiatives, we estimate that we will maintain roughly 10,000 jobs across the country.
Just because we’re in a health crisis doesn’t mean we can neglect the environmental crisis.
We’re also working with BDC and EDC to expand credit support for at-risk medium-sized energy companies, so they can maintain operations and keep their employees.
Our government will invest $1.7 billion to clean up orphaned and abandoned wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.
The goal is to create jobs for workers in the energy sector, to help companies avoid bankruptcy, and to support our environmental targets.
These wells, which are no longer used to produce oil, can be dangerous not only to our environment, but also to our health.
By cleaning them, we will be creating jobs for workers. We will also be helping those who have had these unused wells on their land for years but have not been able to get rid of them.
This funding is expected to maintain nearly 5,200 jobs in Alberta alone. We developed this policy with the Government of Alberta and municipal partners, I want to thank them for their contributions.
Our government will also establish a $750 million Emission Reduction Fund, which will focus on methane pollution to create and maintain jobs.
Of this amount, $75 million will be allocated to offshore oil and gas companies in Newfoundland and Labrador to reduce their emissions.
This fund will mainly provide repayable contributions to companies to protect jobs, increase competitiveness, and reduce pollution.
Companies in the energy sector are having cash flow problems right now, which means they don’t have the funds they need to invest in technologies that will help reduce emissions or fix methane leaks.
Today’s announcement will allow these companies to do this work and create jobs during this difficult time.
This public health crisis should not prevent us from also addressing the climate crisis.
With the well-cleaning initiative and the emission-reduction fund, we estimate that about 10,000 jobs will be maintained.
At the same time, we are working with the BDC and EDC to increase credit support for medium-sized energy companies that are especially at risk.
Again, the goal is to allow these companies to continue operating in order to keep their employees.
Now, I want to turn to what we’re going to do next for small businesses and the people they employ.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken a number of steps to support these employers and mostly their employees.
We introduced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to help keep people on the payroll.
We launched and expanded the Canada Emergency Business Account for those businesses struggling with cash flow.
But Ministers Joly, Ng, Bains, and others have heard that some businesses are still falling through the cracks.
To fix that, our government will provide $962 million to regional development agencies and the Community Futures Network.
This funding will help ensure that more businesses – especially smaller employers[BM1] based in more rural parts of the country or those who don’t have a relationship with a traditional financial institution – are getting the support that they need.
We’re also going to give $270 million to Futurpreneur and the Industrial Research Assistance Program to support innovators and other early stage development firms that don’t qualify for the wage subsidy, but still need help.
In terms of small businesses, we are announcing two new investments today.
First, our government will provide $962 million to regional development agencies and the Community Futures Network of Canada.
This money will provide the support needed by small businesses that are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy or to get a loan under the Canada Emergency Business Account.
Second, our government will provide $270 million to Futurpreneur and the Industrial Research Assistance Program to support innovators and other businesses just starting up that don’t qualify for the wage subsidy.
We also have an update for those who work in the arts, culture, and sports sectors.
A little like the small businesses I have just described, these industries often cannot access the assistance we have announced to date because their revenue models are different or the businesses do not operate in the same way.
Since the beginning of this crisis, artists have brought us comfort, laughter, and happiness.
Athletes have continued to inspire us, encourage us, and make us proud.
Those who work in the arts, culture, and sports sectors allow us to live their passion and make us dream.
And these days, when we are all at home, isolating, they help us feel a little less alone.
These are just a few of the reasons why we must be there for them, like they are there for us.
Our government will therefore provide $500 million to Canadian Heritage to support our artists, our creators, and our rising sports stars, among others.
Thanks to this funding, these individuals will receive wage support and organizations that are having cash flow problems will have access to funding.
Our government will give $500 million to Heritage Canada to support those who work in the arts, culture, and sports sectors.
Like the small businesses I was talking about, people and businesses in these sectors do not have access to some of the help we’ve announced because of how the companies operate or how revenues are generated.
With this investment, people will be able to receive wage support and organizations that are struggling with cash flow will be able to access financing.
At the same time, we continue to support those who have lost their jobs with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
So far, over 7 and a half million payments have been made. That’s money sent directly to those who need it most.
I want to again thank our amazing public servants who are processing these claims at record speeds.
Moving forward, we will be releasing the latest figures on the CERB through the government’s open data portal three times a week, so academics, researchers, and Canadians can keep track of the work being done.
We will continue to provide and open up data, so that we can get the best advice from experts and continue to help Canadians.
I want to end this morning by reminding everyone that today is the 38th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which underpins who we are as a country and who we strive to be as a people.
It protects the right of each and every one of us to be who we are.
To worship how we want, to love whom we love.
At the heart of the Charter is the notion of choice. That we can choose the kind of life we want for ourselves.
As our country confronts this pandemic, I am especially grateful that Canadians have chosen to protect each other and care for one another.
To everyone who has stayed home and followed public health recommendations – thank you.
Making that choice together today will ensure that we remain who we are as Canadians for generations to come.
Thank you very much, everyone.