Minister of Finance Bill Morneau released an update on the federal government’s spending on Wednesday, July 8, showing a “snapshot” of Canada’s economy since COVID-19 hit. That “snapshot” showed a staggering $343.2 billion deficit.
The deficit is a result of investing in Canadians and their well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity Mona Fortier. She said because of those investments, Canada is in a better position to bounce back.
“We believe the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 would’ve been significantly worse if our government had not acted as it did,” she said.
“Even in Kelowna, families were being supported, as well as vulnerable people such as students and seniors. We also supported workers and business owners during these very difficult times to help them pay their bills, keep their lights on and of course, make sure that families could put food on the table.”
Fortier said this doesn’t mean extra taxes at this time; however, would not comment on the future. She said what needs to happen is for Canadians to keep following health authorities’ orders to keep COVID-19 infections low, which will help more sectors reopen safely.
The federal government is still working on a comprehensive “safe restart” plan, stated Fortier, which will involve up to $14 billion of federal transfers to provinces and territories. The plan will include 10 days of paid sick leave for workers, access to childcare, and ensuring essential services are delivered smoothly.
She said besides working with provincial and territorial governments, they are also working on transitioning emergency programs into other programs as more sectors reopen and the economy restarts.
“What’s important is we acted with $212 billion of direct support, which also represents nine dollars out of 10 that the federal government shouldered during the crisis. We wanted to make sure we shouldered the debt so that Canadians didn’t have to,” Fortier said.