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The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility, Training Programs, and Creating Jobs for Albertans

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new measures this morning to support large and medium-sized businesses affected by COVID-19. The Government of Canada has created a Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers with annual revenues of more than $300 million who have been unable to meet their needs through conventional financing during the pandemic. The additional liquidity will be key for businesses looking to weather the downturn and avoid bankruptcies. Companies will need to demonstrate how they intend to preserve employment and maintain investment activities. Businesses must be looking for loans of $60 million or more, have significant operations or workforce in Canada, and not be involved in active insolvency proceedings.

Alberta’s Legislature reconvened last week following a four week hiatus to debate new legislation regarding deferral of utility payments for Albertans. The house is now adjourned but can be called back as required with 12 hours notice. Government House Leader Jason Nixon has suggested that the Legislature sitting could stretch into the summer months in order to provide flexibility and to pass all bills introduced by the UCP prior to the pandemic.

Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet drew the ire of many across the country and certainly here at home in Alberta with their declaration last week that “oil is dead” and that “putting any more money in that business is a very bad idea.” Premier Jason Kenney fired back calling the attack “unCanadian” and said that Blanchet should show gratitude for the billions of dollars the oil industry has generated and shared with Quebec in recent decades.

As of May 10, Alberta has 6,253 cases of COVID-19 including 1,747 active cases, 4,389 recovered cases and 117 deaths. Continuing care facilities and meat processing plants continue to be sources of outbreaks as the province looks toward phase 1 of the province’s relaunch strategy as soon as this Friday, May 14. Additional information on safety measures in place at Alberta’s meat processing facilities has been provided.

Below, you’ll find a recap of government legislation debated last week as well as key government announcements.

Government Legislation Recap

Bill 3: Mobile Home Sites Tenancies Amendment Act, 2020

Stage: Third Reading passed May 7, 2020

Bill 8: Protecting Survivors of Human Trafficking Act

Stage: Third Reading passed May 7, 2020

Notes: An NDP amendment was passed to change the coming into force date of human trafficking protection orders in the bill from December 31, 2020 to July 1, 2020.

Bill 13: Emergency Management Amendment Act, 2020 (No. 2)

Stage: Third Reading passed May 6, 2020

Bill 14: Utility Payment Deferral Program Act

Stage: Third Reading passed May 8, 2020

Notes: The purpose of this bill is to defer utility payments for Albertans that are suffering financially as a result of COVID-19. The legislation would allow utilities to continue to service Albertans while payments are being deferred.

Government of Alberta Announcements

  • Up to $147 million is being provided in funding to northern Alberta to recover and rebuild following spring flooding that caused significant damage. The new Disaster Recovery Program will provide financial support to residents and business owners for uninsurable damages, as well as help restore municipal infrastructure.
  • A new training support program has been created in partnership with the federal government for Alberta’s agricultural industry, including food processors, to help offset the costs of COVID-19 safety and training.
  • A Calgary business has been charged with price gouging for several consumer and PPE products by Service Alberta’s Consumer Investigations Unit.
  • Child care centres and approved family day home agencies will be eligible to receive up to $17.8 million in grants to ensure they are ready to restart and safely support families.
  • An update on student learning and school re-entry was provided by Education Minister Adriana LaGrange this week with three scenarios for September provided (normal school operations are able to resume, schools are partially re-opened, with some level of restrictions and teacher-directed at-home learning continues).

Our New West Public Affairs team has worked hard to adjust to this ‘new normal’ as well as we can. We have implanted work from home procedures and are in constant contact with those making real time policy decisions in this unprecedented time.

We have been providing comprehensive, daily updates on COVID-19’s impact here in Alberta and across the country, how orders of government are responding, and most importantly, how to effectively advocate in this environment.

If you are interested in receiving these daily COVID-19 updates, please contact us.

Right now, information is among the most valuable currencies available. We are committed to helping you and your organization navigate your way through these challenges.