Feds pledge COVID-19 financing help for the country's biggest companies

Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario,Canada is seen August 11, 2016.

OTTAWA _ The federal government says it will provide loans and financing to the country's largest employers to help them weather the COVID-19 economic crisis.

The Liberals are promising bridge financing to companies whose financial needs aren't being met by conventional credit so they can stay open and keep employees on their payrolls.

The government says in a release that another goal of the financing program, aimed at companies with $300 million or more in revenues, is to avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms wherever possible.

Rules on access to the money will place limits on dividends, share buy-backs and executive pay.

Any companies convicted of tax evasion won't be eligible for the money, which will be open to all sectors of the economy.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the low-cost lending isn't for those who don't need it, nor is it to rescue companies that were facing insolvency before the crisis.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2020.