April 17, 2020
Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced targeted investments directed towards the environment, arts and culture and sports sectors as well as a targeted initiative for small businesses.
Investment in the Environment
The Prime Minister acknowledged that the environment is still a very important priority for his government, saying, “Just because we are in a health crisis doesn’t mean we can neglect the environmental crisis.” He announced that the federal government will invest $1.7 billion to clean up orphan and abandoned wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. In addition, an Emission Reduction Fund of $750 million has been established to reduce methane-related emissions, with $75 million in repayable contributions being allocated to offshore oil and gas companies in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Between both initiatives, 10,000 jobs will be maintained across Canada, with 5,200 of those in Alberta.
Small Business Help
The Prime Minister announced $962 million will be put towards regional development agencies and Community Futures Network to help smaller businesses in rural parts of the country get the financial support they need. $270 million of this investment will be allocated to Futurprenuer Canada and the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program to support innovators and early-stage development firms that do not qualify for the wage subsidy.
Assistance for Arts, Culture and Sports
The government will be providing $500 million to Heritage Canada to support artists, creators and athletes. This will provide wage support as well as financing to organizations facing cash flow issues. Future details of this investment are expected soon.
The government has proposed to opposition parties that Parliament resume it sitting once a week virtually. All four parties in Parliament must agree to delay the official return of Parliament, otherwise all 338 MPs are technically slated to return on Monday morning.
Trudeau followed up on U.S. President Donald Trump’s remarks earlier this week, saying that Canada has had “extremely aligned and extremely productive” discussions on a number of issues with the US administration. Trudeau reiterated that his government doesn’t feel that the reopening of the border anytime soon is “likely, confirming that both countries have agreed to extend the current closure of the border to all non-essential travel for another 30 days.
On Thursday, President Trump launched the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach to getting the American economy restarted.
Trudeau confirmed that the federal government is sending 125 members of the Canadian Armed Forces with health care training to provide support to long-term care facilities in Quebec.
He also thanked Bell Canada for their donation of 1.5 million N95 masks, noting that government is working to get them out to the provinces and territories.
Finally, Trudeau noted the government will release up-to-date figures on CERB through a special online portal to provide data to academic and policy experts who are tracking this information.
*Above summary by Enterprise Canada