Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, released the following statement this past Wednesday after meeting by videoconference with his provincial and territorial counterparts of the Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference:
“Canadian families and small businesses across the country are feeling the impacts of COVID-19. That’s why the Government of Canada is working with provinces and territories to protect jobs and businesses, including our energy and mining sectors, during this highly challenging period. The slump in certain commodity prices, drastic reductions in energy demand and other pressures have meant the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on Canada’s energy and mining sectors.
“By working together, federal, provincial and territorial ministers can help set the right conditions for recovery. We can collaborate to strengthen supply chains and trade, seize opportunities to accelerate re-entry and recovery, and set the right conditions for investment, all while supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy.
“To ensure the resilience of these hard-hit sectors in the interim — in addition to targeted funding for the energy sector — the Government of Canada recently announced an expanded Business Credit Availability Program and the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility to provide critical bridge financing at commercial rates to keep our businesses working. We also announced the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy to help all employers maintain their existing workforces for up to three months.
“We also continue to engage with the mining industry to understand the economic pressures it is facing, such as exploration companies that finance their activities by raising equity.
“And to secure Canada’s competitive position during the recovery, the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan (CMMP) developed by the federal, provincial and territorial governments, in collaboration with Indigenous partners and industry, will continue to serve as a roadmap for the future of mining. Together with our provincial and territorial partners, we are currently developing measures for the next instalment of the CMMP Action Plan to support strong firms — like those that are the starting points for supply chains for medical equipment, clean technologies, manufacturing and defence — to build on Canada’s position as a global mining power.
“While re-opening the economy is critical, it must be done safely. The priority of the Energy and Mines Ministers will always be the health and safety of all Canadians, including those in Indigenous and northern communities. We must work with Indigenous partners to ensure their concerns are understood and mitigated.
“The Government of Canada remains committed to innovation and building a clean energy future to stimulate the economy, create good jobs and support our natural resource sectors through this tough economic time.”