Lac-Mégantic: Government of Canada supports workers and businesses in their economic recovery efforts

LAC-MÉGANTIC, QC, June 13, 2014 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is taking significant action to support the community of Lac-Mégantic following the tragic accident that occurred on July 6, 2013. Today the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development, Minister for La Francophonie and Member of Parliament for Mégantic-L'Érable, announced funding of up to $1.5 million for the Quebec government to support the workers who lost their jobs and the businesses affected. He made this announcement on behalf of the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development.

This funding will help workers in Lac-Mégantic re-enter the workforce or keep their jobs at companies that are resuming their business activities. This assistance will take various forms, such as financial support for training activities, employment assistance services and aid to employers for recruitment and hiring.

Given the extent of the tragedy, the Government of Canada immediately implemented substantial measures to help the community of Lac-Mégantic. The Government ensured that everyone who lost their jobs had prompt access to federal programs and services, particularly Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits.

Quick Facts

  • In July 2013, the Government of Canada announced $60 million for response and recovery in the community of Lac-Mégantic.
  • Of this amount, $25 million was provided by Public Safety for immediate response and recovery needs.
  • $35 million was provided by the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the regions of Quebec, to help restore and rebuild infrastructure and to carry out economic development activities in the community.
  • In November 2013, a total of up to $95 million was announced for the decontamination of soil and water polluted by the derailment in Lac-Mégantic.

Quotes

Today's funding announcement is another example of our government's commitment to the workers and businesses affected by this tragedy. This assistance will help boost jobs and economic activity in Lac-Mégantic by making training, recruitment and hiring activities possible.
- The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and Minister of La Francophonie

Given the substantial damage in the downtown core, reconstruction is progressing well, but it will still take more time. This is why the Government of Canada continues to work closely with the Quebec government to identify the needs of the community and to stimulate the economy in Lac-Mégantic.
- The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development

This agreement in principle reflects the importance that the Government of Quebec places on those affected by the Lac-Mégantic tragedy. During this period of recovery, workers and businesspeople must be supported. We must do everything possible to enable workers to increase their employability and re-enter the workforce. It is also essential to help businesses restart or recover their operations. Given the extent of the tragedy experienced by Lac-Mégantic residents, extraordinary measures must be taken to support the local economic activity.
- François Blais, Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity

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Backgrounder

In total, the Government of Canada has pledged more than $155 million to support the community of Lac-Mégantic following the tragedy of July 2013.

Support for the people of Lac-Mégantic

  • Providing expert advice to first responders in the immediate aftermath of the accident.

  • Setting up mobile outreach services to provide the citizens of Lac-Mégantic with access to Government of Canada programs and services, including Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and Social Insurance numbers.

  • Committing $60 million to the community of Lac-Mégantic to support relief and recovery efforts.

  • Announcing special measures for Canadian citizens, and for temporary and permanent residents affected by the tragedy in Lac-Mégantic. This involved extending or restoring the status of temporary residents, including those who were in Canada to work, study or visit, and providing free replacements of destroyed documents, such as immigration and citizenship documents, permanent residency cards and Canadian passports. These special measures were in place until October 5.

  • Contributing scientific advice, sampling, forensic analysis, and guidance to support the response efforts, such as identifying environmental protection priorities and providing weather forecasts twice daily for the Lac-Mégantic area.

Measures to strengthen the application of the polluter-pays principle

  • Committing to enshrining the polluter-pays system in law. Canada's liability and compensation regime for oil spills is based on the "polluter-pays" principle, which means that the polluter is always responsible for covering the cost of an oil spill clean- up, including third-party damages. This means that if a ship causes a spill, its owner is liable for losses and damages under federal legislation.

  • Taking steps to ensure railway companies are able to bear the cost of their actions by requiring shippers and railways to carry additional third-party liability insurance to deal with the consequences of an accident.

  • Launching a consultation and review of the adequacy of third-party liability insurance coverage for the issuance of certificates of fitness required by federal railways. The purpose of this review is to solicit input on possible improvements to the current regulatory framework, as prescribed in the Railway Third Party Liability Insurance Coverage Regulations, which fall within the Canadian Transportation Agency's current authority and mandate.

SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information:

Alexandra Fortier
Minister's Office
819-994-2482

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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Julie White
Press secretary
Minister's office - Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale Québec
418-643-9013

François Lefebvre
Communications Directorate
Department of Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale Québec
418-646-0425, ext. 67234