Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday announced a new multi million dollar loan program for large companies impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
The program called the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF), is designed to allow big companies to access additional liquidity to keep their operations going, retain workers on payroll, and avoid bankruptcy, though the financing comes with a series of terms and conditions, according to the reports.
During his press conference, PM Trudeau emphasized that it was a bridge loan program, not a “bailout”, and that the government was “a lender of last resort”.
The LEEFF will provide support to employers with annual revenues of more than C$300 million ($213 million) whose credit needs aren’t being met through conventional financing.
“Ideally, private-sector lenders are adequate for the needs of large businesses. But in an extraordinary situation when that isn’t always enough, we must act to prevent massive harm to Canadian workers and families and the Canadian economy,” he said.
On Friday, Trudeau announced extension of the country Emergency Wage Subsidy program to help businesses and services retain their employees as the April jobless rate soared to record 13 per cent.
Earlier, Trudeau announced 252 million Canadian dollars (US $179 million) to the agri-food sector to help protect farmers and food processors against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the 252 million Canadian dollars, 77 million is earmarked to help food processors buy protective equipment for workers and expand domestic processing capacity of food; 125 million is meant to help cattle and hog producers because of their costs increase, and 50 million will go for a food surplus purchasing program to compensate food producers.
The program is open to large commercial businesses in all sectors and certain not-for-profit businesses like airports.
But businesses in the financial sector are not eligible, nor are any firms convicted of tax evasion in the past.
Trudeau has expanded the scope of, and eligibility for the program since first promising it in March.
The country has reported a total of 69,907 COVID-19 cases, with 4,992 deaths.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 has now infected 4,101,482 people worldwide and 282,700 people have been killed due to this pandemic. Around 1,408,771 people of that tally have recovered.