164694
Canada  

Weighing federal emergency aid as deficit estimates hit $252B

Deficit could top $252B

UPDATE: 6:57 a.m.

Parliament's budget watchdog says that it's likely the federal deficit for the year will hit $252.1 billion as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The figure is an estimate based on the almost $146 billion in spending measures the government has announced to help cushion the economic blow from the pandemic, estimated declines in the country's gross domestic product, and the price of oil remaining well below previous expectations.

Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux's report assumes real GDP will contract by 12 per cent this year, and help shoot the federal debt-to-GDP ratio to 48.4 per cent.

The report out this morning says the debt ratio could keep rising if some of the emergency aid measures are extended or made permanent.

Giroux says extra spending may be required if the situation persists for longer than expected, or the economy is slow to recover when restrictions are lifted.

His report says the estimates are one possible scenario if current public health measures remain or are slowly, but not entirely, lifted over the rest of the calendar year.


ORIGINAL: 5:50 a.m.

Canadians will get an update today on two of the costliest emergency aid programs the federal government has initiated to help them weather the COVID-19 crisis.

The parliamentary budget officer is scheduled to post a costing note on the 75 per cent wage subsidy — a program the government expects to cost $73 billion and which it has called the largest economic policy in Canada since the Second World War.

Yves Giroux is also expected to post a costing note on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which is providing $2,000 a month for four months to Canadians forced out of work due to the pandemic.

The government has estimated the cost of that program at $35 billion, but has expanded the eligibility criteria several times to add those initially left out, including workers earning up to $1,000 per month, seasonal workers and those who have exhausted their regular employment insurance benefits.

In total, the federal government has so far poured $145 billion into emergency aid and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised more to come, including for seniors.

He is not expected to announce any new funding today, however.

Meanwhile, MPs on six House of Commons committees will be delving into various aspects of the federal response to the pandemic.

Industry Minister Navdeep Bains — who is spearheading the drive to mobilize Canadian researchers and scientists in the campaign to develop tests, treatments and ultimately a vaccine to protect against the novel coronavirus — is to testify at the industry committee.

And Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen, who is responsible for measures aimed at helping children, seniors and the homeless through the pandemic, is to testify at the human resources committee.

That committee is also scheduled to hear from the head of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. The CMHC is administering the federal government's new program to relieve eligible small businesses of 75 per cent of their rent payments due in April, May and June.



More Canada News

Canada
160709
162393
Recent Trending
164077
165091
Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada
166432





166388
163942