Canada PM pledges aid to struggling oil-rich province

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos on January 20, 2016 (AFP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini) (AFP/File)

Ottawa (AFP) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged up to nearly Can$1 billion (US$727 million) in government aid to the oil-rich province of Alberta that has been hit hard by falling crude prices.

"Alberta's economy is important to Canada's economy and federal-provincial action is needed to promote jobs and growth -- especially given how low oil and other commodity prices are affecting the province," Trudeau said Wednesday after a meeting with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.

Alberta is reeling from the oil rout. While its unemployment rate was under four percent of the active population before the dip in prices, it is now above seven percent.

To boost the province's economy, Trudeau said the government was committing to fast track nearly Can$700 million in infrastructure investments.

He said the government also stands prepared to provide Alberta an advance fiscal stabilization payment of up to Can$250 million to compensate for "losses in natural resource revenue."

The goal, Trudeau said, was to support long-term growth while creating jobs in the short-term.