Money Help for Canadian oilpatch coming in 'hours, possibly days,' finance minister promises
Bank of Canada pumps $7B, expands bond buy-backs to ease economic concerns
OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada prepared to increase the cash it pumps into the financial system and Finance Minister Bill Morneau stressed the need for fiscal measures to manage the impact of COVID-19 as official Ottawa responded to another market plunge. Thursday saw sharp drops on North American stock markets: 12.34 per cent on the S&P/TSX composite index, and a 9.99 per cent drop on the Dow Jones industrial average — its worst day since 1987.
Help for Canada's oil and gas sector is "hours, possibly days" away, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Wednesday, as the industry continues to slash spending plans by the billions of dollars.
Addressing a Senate committee meeting, Morneau said the energy sector has been hit by a combination of an, and COVID-19.
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"The energy sector is in a particularly challenging situation," Morneau said.
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The Ontario government announced planned legislation Monday that would protect workers affected by COVID-19. The proposed legislation would ensure workers who are in self-isolation or who have to care for family members because of the infection will not lose their jobs, Labour Minister Monte McNaughton announced at a news conference at Queen’s Park. Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips announced at the same conference that he will present a fiscal update on March 25 in lieu of a full budget.
The minister said Ottawa has been in daily contact with provincial governments to discuss those issues and how it is impacting provincial revenues.
"We're also in hourly contact with the energy sector to think about how we can bridge the time by providing some sort of appropriate credit opportunities for them — and that is work that is going on right now," he said.
"I don't have the final answer on the exact hour that that will be delivered, but I'm not talking about weeks. I'm talking about hours, potentially days, that we can ensure that there's credit facilities for especially the small- and medium-size firms in that sector."
Morneau did not discuss how the federal government would do this.
He said the 10 largest companies in the oil and gas sector have existing credit relationships with their banks and, in most cases, have available credit.
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Global News has also learned that the deadline for filing income tax returns for individuals and businesses will be extended by one month to June 1 and July 31, respectively. More to come -- With files from Global News' Mike LeCouteur
"But they are under strain, too," he said. "So we're also looking at individual issues in that sector. Those are all important."
Canada's oil and gas sector is being hit with the fallout of plunging crude prices linked to a market share battle between Saudi Arabia and Russia, and lower demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic
, Husky Energy, , MEG Energy and Seven Generations Energy are among the list of other companies to also announce spending reductions recently.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg News pegged the amount of money that Canadian energy companies have slashed in capital spending for the year at between $5.3 billion to $6.5 billion.
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'It's going to be very difficult and very painful': Oilpatch begins layoffs and oil production cuts .
'It's going to be very difficult and very painful': Oilpatch begins layoffs and oil production cutsHeavy oil prices in Alberta have been hit the hardest, selling for under $4 US a barrel in recent days.