Finance minister to address COVID-19 economic recovery plan at virtual event


Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will provide an update on the Liberal government’s plan to recover from the pandemic-induced economic slowdown today.

Freeland is scheduled to speak at the Toronto Global Forum at 12:40 p.m. CBC News will carry her remarks live.

The finance minister is the keynote speaker for the final day of the three-day event, which brought together politicians, business leaders and academics from around the world to exchange views on global economic issues.

Her speech is happening on the same day the Bank of Canada released a new report predicting the country’s economy won’t fully recover what was lost to COVID-19 until 2022.

The bank’s monetary policy report estimates the economy will shrink by 5.7 per cent this year, but grow by 4.2 per cent next year and 3.7 per cent in 2022.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week that government officials are working on a “robust” budget update outlining the state of federal finances after months of spending on pandemic-related support programs.

The last detailed update came in the form of a fiscal snapshot tabled by then-Finance Minister Bill Morneau in July. It estimated the federal government’s budget deficit would hit $343.2 billion this year — but it was delivered before the Liberals made a series of costly changes to benefit programs that are sure to drive that number up.

In last month’s speech from the throne, the government promised to extend emergency supports for Canadians and struggling businesses hit by the COVID-19 crisis into next summer.

Trudeau said Monday the promised update won’t cite a specific fiscal anchor to keep spending from spiralling out of control.

In a recent report, the office of Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux estimated that the size of the debt compared to the size of the domestic economy — which had been the Liberals’ preferred fiscal anchor — could be around 48 per cent this year and next.

The debt this year is expected to push past $1.2 trillion.

Read more at CBC.ca