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Trudeau announces aid program for large companies

Ottawa, May 12 (IANS) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new multimillion 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, reports Xinhua news agency.

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During his press conference here on Monday, 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.

“We will not allow millions of people to lose their livelihoods because of unprecedented events that were beyond their control.”

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 said the objective of the aid program was to keep Canadian companies up and running. He said the government will ensure the aid is accessible to every sector across the country, with the vow that companies are held accountable, including requiring them to share their complete financial structure when applying.

Canada has reported a total of 69,907 COVID-19 cases, with 4,992 deaths.

–IANS

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