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Federal government announces support for workers in oil and gas sector

Canada's government is putting $1.6 billion into efforts to bolster the oil and gas sector. – Flickr - Lindsey G; used under Creative Commons license
Canada's government is putting $1.6 billion into efforts to bolster the oil and gas sector. Flickr - Lindsey G; used under Creative Commons license

Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, Amarjeet Sohi, together with Canada's Minister of International Trade Diversification, Jim Carr, have announced more than $1.6 billion to support jobs and workers in Canada's oil and gas sector as Canada seeks to diversify export markets for its resources beyond the United States. These measures will support workers and their families, foster competitiveness and improve the long-term environmental performance of the industry.

The announcement is an investment in our country's future and in thousands of jobs tied to our resource industry, while building on recent federal efforts to support Canada's oil and gas sector, according to the government. These include the Government's $4.5-billion purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and existing assets; the introduction of tax incentives — an accelerated capital cost allowance for businesses of all sizes — and plans to reduce the regulatory burden across the economy announced in the federal Fall Economic Statement; and Sohi's request of the National Energy Board to explore pipeline optimization.

"The oil and gas industry is core to Canada's economy. These investments will help protect jobs and restore competitiveness during this difficult time. We know that getting our resources to non-U.S. markets is the long-term solution to ensuring every barrel of oil gets its full value. That remains our focus, and we will continue to work hard to deliver results," stated Sohi.

These measures include:

  • $1 billion in commercial financial support from Export Development Canada to be made available to exporters of all sizes to assist companies looking to invest in innovative technologies, address working capital needs or explore new markets.
  • A new $500-million Energy Diversification commercial financing envelope over three years from the Business Development Bank of Canada to help higher risk but viable oil and gas small business enterprises weather the current market uncertainty.
  • A $50-million investment through Natural Resources Canada's Clean Growth Program in oil and gas projects — projected to generate $890 million in investment.
  • $100 million through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada's Strategic Innovation Fund in energy and economic diversification-related projects.

"Alberta's oil and gas expertise is recognized globally. Today's investments respond to the current environment, but also demonstrate our confidence in the ingenuity and determination of Albertans to prevail in the global marketplace. This government is committed to helping any business, however small, tap the unparalleled trade deals and job-creating investment now open to Canadians," Carr said.

Investments from the National Trade Corridor's Fund are also available for projects that address bottlenecks in the freight rail system to support the efficiency and fluidity of transportation of all commodities.

A suite of Employment and Social Development Canada services and programs is also available and can be deployed quickly to assist workers who may be negatively affected. This includes Work-Sharing to prevent layoffs and immediate income supports through Employment Insurance. Employment programming such as counselling, job search assistance, training and skills development programs delivered by provinces and territories is also available.

"Innovation in our resource sector willdrive its future success and ensure it continues to play an essential role inour economy and in the lives of Canadian families. The Government is takingdecisive action to help restore competitiveness, support innovation, improveenvironmental performance and create more middle-class jobs," said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

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