Canada announced that in order for businesses to receive Covid-19 economic aid, they will be required to disclose their climate impacts and commit to making environmentally sustainable decisions, E&E News reported. The condition is part of the country’s new Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility, which has been created to provide bridge loans to Canada’s largest employers struggling during the pandemic.
Companies with annual revenues of $300 million or more that apply for loans from the Canadian government must “commit to publish annual climate-related disclosure reports… including how their future operations will support environmental sustainability and national climate goals,” according to a press release from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This will include some of Canada’s most polluting industries, such as airlines and oil companies.
“Among the conditions are making sure that there [are] no share buybacks or dividends or excessive executive pay, but also that companies have financial disclosures on their climate situation and that they’re part of our long-term sustainability goals,” Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau told CBC News.
The oil and gas industry, Canada’s third-largest economic sector, received a separate $1.7 billion coronavirus relief package last month, which included significant funds for environmental cleanup projects and methane reduction. Tim McMillan, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, told E&E News that the new bridge loan program “is welcome news” and will help by “rapidly deploying capital and getting people working in shovel-ready projects.”