The federal government announced 0n Tuesday in Edmonton 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.”
The announcement was made by federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi and International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr.
“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,” said Sohi.
“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,” said Carr.
The government said the new 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.
“Innovation in our resource sector will drive its future success and ensure it continues to play an essential role in our economy and in the lives of Canadian families. The government is taking decisive action to help restore competitiveness, support innovation, improve environmental performance and create more middle-class jobs,” saidInnovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains.
Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.