Trudeau announces billions in aid for energy, rural business and arts sectors

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced $1.7 billion to clean up orphan wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, as well as aid for rural businesses and people working in the arts and culture sectors.

The aid is expected to help maintain 5,200 jobs in Alberta alone.

“Our goal is to create immediate jobs in these provinces while helping companies avoid bankruptcy, and supporting our environmental targets,” he said.

During today’s daily briefing outside his residence at Rideau Cottage, Trudeau also announced the government will establish a $750 million emissions reduction fund, with a focus on methane, to create jobs through efforts to cut pollution. The fund includes $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,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau also announced $962 million for regional development agencies to help the smaller employers in rural areas.

He also announced $270 million for a program for entrepreneurial and industrial research and another $500 million to support Canadians who work in the arts, culture and sports sectors.

Trudeau’s news conference began at 11:15 a.m. ET. is carrying it live.

The new measures are in addition to previously announced programs to support struggling businesses, including a 75 per cent wage subsidy for businesses of all sizes, charities and non-profits.

The federal government is also backing loans of up to $40,000 for businesses that have a payroll between $20,000 and $1.5 million a year. Up to $10,000 of the interest-free loan is non-repayable.

To date, 220,000 loans worth $8.8 billion have been approved.

Trudeau has warned that reopening the economy too soon could run the risk of increasing the spread of COVID-19, but some premiers have been considering ways to gradually get people back to work.

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