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Alberta’s finance minister happy with help for large employers

Finance Minister and Grande Prairie—Wapiti MLA Travis Toews says the federal government’s new Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility Program is both welcomed and appreciated by Alberta.

While details have not been fully released, the LEEAF program will allow viable and qualifying companies, including those in the oil and gas sector, to access to cash to keep operating, hold on to employees, and avoid bankruptcy. It is meant for those with annual revenue of at least $300 million.

While there are restrictions to keep companies from spending the money in other aspects of their business, Minister Toews says they’re needed to keep the integrity of the bridge loan program.

“The restrictions on dividends, share buybacks, executive salaries and remuneration, [are] reasonable qualifications to put into a government liquidity measure such as this.”

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Toews says the provincial government wasn’t aware of the announcement before it was made, but says a number of talks with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau made the province’s needs perfectly clear.

“We’ve spent the last two months ensuring the federal government understands the importance of the energy industry not only to Alberta but to the nation,” Toews says.

“Given our discussions, we knew the feds were working on a program, but we are pleased they announced it this morning,” he adds.

The capital funding will also have mandated environmental reporting requirements, which is something Toews believes will show energy companies in Alberta have been very responsible from that standpoint. He doesn’t believe it will be a hindrance.

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