PM announces new support to protect Canadian jobs
April 22, 2020
OTTAWA – The Government of Canada is taking action to help Canadian businesses and organizations keep their doors open, keep their employees on the payroll, and recover quickly when Canada bounces back from this crisis.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced new actions to protect Canadian jobs and provide more support to businesses and organizations dealing with the economic impacts of COVID-19. The Government of Canada will provide over $1.7 billion for targeted measures, including:
- $675 million to give financing support to small and medium-sized businesses that are unable to access the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures, through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies.
- $287 million to support rural businesses and communities, including by providing them with much-needed access to capital through the Community Futures Network.
- $500 million to establish a COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations to help address the financial needs of affected organizations within these sectors so they can continue to support artists and athletes.
- $250 million to assist innovative, early-stage companies that are unable to access existing COVID-19 business support, through the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program.
- $20.1 million in support of Futurpreneur Canada, supporting young entrepreneurs across Canada facing challenges due to COVID-19. The funding will allow Futurpreneur Canada to provide payment relief to its clients for up to 12 months.
In an interview with the Globe and Mail newspaper, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said he hoped the IRAP funding boost would help 1,000 companies protect 10,000 jobs, and that money would flow to companies in a matter of days and weeks.
“Today’s announcement reflects the fact that we know we need to do more to support startups,” Bains said, reflecting criticisms of gaps in the Liberal minority government’s relief programs.
He said the new funding would be open to new clients, not just existing IRAP-funded companies. The program’s budget is traditionally $310-million a year. Mr. Bains also said Ottawa would not rule out adding more funding to the program if the need is there.
Startups called the new announcement crucial, not just for the duration of the pandemic but for ensuring the future of the Canadian sector. “Within this community is the next Shopify – [a company] that will pay 10,000 people in high-paying jobs, and isn’t just a U.S. subsidiary,” said James Novak, chief executive officer of Toronto maintenance-monitoring software company Fiix Inc. which had to make cuts across the board during the crisis.
Early stage companies don’t often have steady revenue or any revenue, as they prepare their products and services to go to market.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the Canadian economy. That is why we are taking unprecedented measures today to protect Canadian jobs,” said The Hon. Bill Morneau (pictured), Minister of Finance. “We are working in close consultation with all impacted businesses across the country to take action where it is required, and are prepared to take further targeted action as needed.”
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