The numbers just keep growing as Canada faces budget deficits and debt levels not seen since World War II
Saying said the government’s immediate priority is to do “whatever it takes” to help Canadians and businesses stay safe and solvent Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced a short-term stimulus package valued at $70 billion to $100 billion over roughly three years. The government says the stimulus spending — intended to build a greener, more inclusive, more innovative and competitive economy — will launch after a vaccine is distributed and life begins to return to normal.
“When the virus is under control and our economy is ready for new growth, we will deploy an ambitious stimulus package to jump-start our recovery,” Freeland said in a statement read in the House of Commons today.
Freeland said the stimulus program will help guard against long-term damage to the economy. She said government debt is highly affordable now, due to Canada’s strong past economic performance and low interest rates.
Part of the money will go to what the government is terming a down-payment on “transformative initiatives,” such as Canada-wide early learning and child care, job training and green initiatives.
Another $1-billion will go to help provinces and territories improve COVID-19 infection control in long-term care facilities. The government is also proposing a temporary support in 2021 of up to $1,200 for each child under six for low and middle-income families eligible for the Canada child benefit (CCB).
Today’s fiscal update projects the deficit will reach $381.6 billion by the end of March 2021, and could climb even higher depending on factors such as the severity of shutdowns and the rate of COVID-19 infections.