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COVID-19-related spending set to drop sharply over coming year: PBO report

Last Updated Mar 10, 2021 at 12:03 pm PDT

Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux waits to appear before the Commons Finance committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday March 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

PBO forecasts 86 per cent drop in federal spending related to COVID-19 in the upcoming fiscal year

Ottawa estimated to spend just under $23 billion as it transitions away from emergency pandemic measures, PBO says

OTTAWA — Parliament’s budget watchdog says the portion of federal spending related to COVID-19 is set to drop by 86 per cent in the coming fiscal year compared to 2020-21, as Canada transitions away from emergency pandemic measures.

In a new report, parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux says the government is planning $22.7 billion in COVID-19-related spending over the coming year, versus an estimated $159.5 billion to date.

Part of the decline relates to a projected plunge in relief spending for individuals.

In 2020-21, an estimated $122 billion flowed to Canadians via labour market supports such as the emergency response benefit, the recovery benefit and enhanced employment insurance.

The comparable figure for 2021-22 is less than $43 billion, reflecting a gradual phaseout of aid measures.

The budget officer’s report is based on estimates tabled in Parliament last month and does not factor in the upcoming budget, which may not be introduced until April.