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March 23, 2020

Canada Provides Support Package For COVID-19, Will “Mobilize” Manufacturing Industry

On March 18, the Canadian government announced a combined $82 billion support package to help the Canadian economy through the COVID-19 crisis. The package includes $27 billion in direct support to individuals, families, and businesses, plus an additional $55 billion through the deferral of tax revenue in liquidity measures for the economy. Details about the package can be found here. Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the package was the first phase of support and committed to a financial rescue package for the oil and gas sector as well.

The government also has announced a plan to “mobilize” the manufacturing industry to produce medical supplies. The initiative will:

  • Either re-tool the manufacturing lines of existing Canadian businesses or rapidly scale up the production of others that already produce these products.
  • Refocus Canada’s existing industrial and innovation programs, by adding to their mandate a requirement that they prioritize the fight against COVID-19. This includes:
    • The Strategic Innovation Fund to deliver direct support to Canadian companies for large-scale projects.
    • National Research Council of Canada to expedite research and development with small and medium-sized enterprises.
    • Innovation Superclusters to tap into a national network of 1,800 members and Innovative Solutions Canada to help companies commercialize products more quickly.
  • Deliver direct support to key Canadian companies that are working on large-scale and later-stage research and development projects aimed, in the immediate term, at producing countermeasures to COVID-19.
  • Challenge innovative companies to develop research-based solutions, technologies, and products that can address a variety of COVID-19 issues.
  • Source equipment needed to support Canada’s response to COVID-19 here in Canada. The Government of Canada will use existing supply arrangements and innovative, flexible procurement approaches. It is also reaching out to suppliers to identify and purchase equipment, supplies, and services needed for Canada’s response to COVID-19. With a view to longer-term support, the Government of Canada will ensure procurement flexibility to support innovation and build domestic manufacturing capacity to supply critical health supplies to Canadians.

Also last week: in industry, the Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges such as pay disruption due to COVID-19. Click here for more information.