Canadian Manufacturing

Feds to unveil details of loan program for large corporations

The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility was announced last week, aimed at providing short-term bridge financing to companies with $300-million or more in annual revenues

May 20, 2020  The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The federal government is beefing up efforts to persuade businesses to rehire workers now that Canada’s economy is starting to emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown.

It is expected today to unveil more details of its promised loan program for large corporations and commercial rent relief for small- and mid-sized businesses.

That includes more information on how businesses can apply for the programs and what conditions will apply.

The focus on May 20 follows last week’s extension of the 75% wage subsidy for three months, to the end of August, and the May 19 announcement that the government is expanding the eligibility criteria for its small business loan program.

The latter program provides interest-free loans of $40,000 for eligible small businesses to cover costs like rent and utilities, with the possibility of forgiving one-quarter of the amount if it is paid off by the end of 2022.

The May 19 fix extended the program to companies that don’t have traditional payrolls, such as family-run businesses that pay themselves in dividends and companies that employ only contractors.

“This is about getting people back to work and giving businesses the confidence to reopen, rehire and even grow because the way our economy will recover and the way our country will remain resilient and successful is by getting Canadians back to work,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said May 19.

On May 20 the focus will be on rent relief and the large corporation loans program is aimed at conveying the same message.

The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) was announced last week, aimed at providing short-term bridge financing to companies with $300-million or more in annual revenues looking for loans worth at least $60 million but unable to secure them from banks or other private lenders.

It is to come with strict conditions, for which the government has so far provided few details. Generally, the conditions are to include limits on a company’s dividends, share buybacks and executive pay, as well as a requirement that each company account for how they intend to contribute to Canada’s targets for reducing carbon emissions.

Trudeau has also said applicants whose financial records show signs of “aggressive tax avoidance” will be prohibited, as will companies convicted of tax evasion in the past.

While the LEEFF program was generally well received last week, many companies said they had to wait for the details before knowing whether it would be of use to them.


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