Premier announces economic relief for energy sector

by Morinville News Staff

Premier Jason Kenney began his 3 p.m. update Friday by commending and praising Alberta Health Services employees who are testing more than 2,000 people per day for the virus. The Premier also praised truckers, grocery store staff, and custodial staff.

“To all of them and so many others, hundreds of thousands of unsung heroes,” the Premier said.

NEW MEASURES

Ministry of Children services will begin opening select Children services to accommodate health care workers and municipal critical infrastructure workers. Centres will be limited to 30 people, including staff, and will need to follow strict health rules. All other child care centres are to remain closed, although licensed day homes can stay open under previous rules on the number of children.

“We all need to operate under this new normal,” Kenney said.

Kenney also announced his emergency management of the cabinet is expanding homeless shelters. Implementation of pandemic shelter plans at Hope Mission and Mustard Seed are underway, the Premier said. The Expo Centre will be used for people with illness under Alberta Health guidance.

ENERGY SECTOR RELIEF

The Government of Alberta says it is helping Albertans by taking immediate action to protect jobs and provide immediate economic relief to Alberta’s energy sector.

“In order to keep Albertans employed, our government is taking immediate action to help our energy sector get through these difficult times,” said Minister of Energy Sonya Savage. “By providing industry with more options, in the short-term they are able to maintain operations and protect jobs.”

New economic measures announced Friday by the Premier include:

Funding the Alberta Energy Regulator levy: $113 million. Government is funding the industry levy for the Alberta Energy Regulator for a period of six months, achieving $113 million in industry relief.

Granting extensions for oil and gas tenures

Extending the term of mineral agreements expiring in 2020 by one year provides increased certainty for industry by allowing additional time to raise capital and plan future activities.

The Government of Alberta has also extended a loan to the Orphan Well Association in the amount of $100 million. This loan will bolster the association’s immediate reclamation efforts, decommission about 1,000 wells, and start more than 1,000 environmental assessments, creating up to 500 direct and indirect jobs.

Kenney announced the members of his Economic Recovery Council, which the government says will guide Alberta through the downturn that comes as a result of COVID-19 and the energy price crash.

“This is the most significant and disruptive economic downturn in generations,” Kenney said. “It will get worse before it gets better. The Government of Alberta will do everything in its power to protect jobs and job creators. The council announced today, chaired by Dr. Jack Mintz, will provide advice and policy recommendations on how best to confront this unprecedented economic crisis, and recover from it in the long term. This will include strategies to accelerate economic diversification.”

The Premier’s Economic Recovery Council will consist of the following members:

Jack Mintz, chair
Clive Beddoe – former chair, president and CEO, WestJet
Robert Blakely – Canadian operating officer, Canada’s Building Trades Union
Brent Belzberg – founder and senior managing partner, TorQuest Partners
Bob Dhillon – founder, president and CEO, Mainstreet Equity Corporation
Chris Fowler – president and CEO, Canadian Western Bank
Hon. Stephen Harper – Canada’s 22nd prime minister
Peter Kiss – owner and president, Morgan Construction and Environmental
Zainul Mawji – president, Telus Home Solutions
Nancy Southern – chair and CEO, ATCO Ltd.
Kevin Uebelein – CEO, AIMCo
Mac Van Wielingen – founder, ARC Financial

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