The federal government will unveil its first budget in more than two years on April 19, Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said in the House of Commons today.
“We will continue to do whatever it takes to support Canadians and Canadian businesses. And we have a plan for jobs and robust growth,” Freeland said.
The federal government last delivered a budget in March of 2019. This will be Freeland’s first budget as finance minister; she took on the portfolio last summer after Bill Morneau’s resignation.
The budget is expected to provide a full accounting of all government spending through the pandemic, which has sent the deficit for the fiscal year to almost $400 billion.
It is also expected to outline the Liberals’ plan to spend between $70 billion and $100 billion over the coming years on stimulus to help the economy recover.
The government has said the spending plan will include measures to create a national child care system, improve skills training and build a greener economy.
Earlier this month, the parliamentary budget officer said 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 we transition away from the early days of the global pandemic, planned expenditures for the government’s response to COVID-19 have fallen to $22.7 billion, a drop of $136.8 billion compared to the estimates for 2020-2021,” Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux said when his March 10 report was published.
That analysis, said Giroux, does not include spending measures to be announced in the coming budget.
Part of the decline relates to a projected plunge in relief spending for individuals.
In 2020-21, an estimated $122 billion flowed to Canadians through labour market supports such as the emergency response benefit, the recovery benefit and enhanced employment insurance, the report says.
The comparable figure for 2021-22 is less than $43 billion, reflecting a gradual phase-out of aid measures.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said his party could do a better job of reviving the Canadian economy.
“Unlike the Trudeau Liberals, Conservatives will work hard to promote an economic recovery that benefits all Canadians. This means jobs and growth in every sector of the economy and in every part of the country,” O’Toole said in a media statement.