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Reopening economy is critical, but must be done safely – O’Regan

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan (right) pictured with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan (right) pictured with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

28th May 2020

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online


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Canadian Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan has stressed the importance of reopening the economy, but says it has to be done safely with consideration for all Canadians, including those in Indigenous and northern communities.

“We must work with Indigenous partners to ensure their concerns are understood and mitigated,” the Minister said on Wednesday, following a meeting by video conference with his provincial and territorial counterparts.

Some communities have raised concern about resuming mining operations near Indigenous communities, arguing that the comings and goings of mining workers could compromise efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The pandemic has had a major impact on Canada’s energy and mining sectors and O’Regan said families and small businesses across the country were feeling the impact.

He said it was “critical” to reopen the economy.

“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.”

To ensure the resilience of these hard-hit sectors in the interim — in addition to targeted funding for the energy sector — the Canada government recently announced an expanded business credit availability programme and the large employer emergency financing facility to provide bridge financing at commercial rates to keep businesses working.

The government also announced the Canadian emergency wage subsidy to help 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,” O’Regan noted.

Further, the federal, provincial and territorial governments were working on the next instalment of the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan (CMMP).

The CMMP action plan, he said, would support strong firms — like those that were the starting points for supply chains for medical equipment, clean technologies, manufacturing and defence.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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