Parliamentary budget officer reports on potential fiscal, economic cost of pandemic

Canadians will get an idea today of what the COVID-19 pandemic could mean for Canada’s economy and the federal government’s balance sheet, with the release of a new report from the parliamentary budget officer.

Yves Giroux is planning to post on his website this morning a “scenario analysis” that is intended to help parliamentarians gauge the potential economic and fiscal implications from the combined health crisis and the collapse of oil prices.

Such analysis typically involves a variety of projected outcomes based on a number of possible, alternative scenarios.

The federal government has already poured $107 billion into fighting the pandemic —$52 billion in financial assistance to individuals and businesses and $55 billion in deferred taxes — and billions more are expected to flow in the days to come.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expecting to announce more support today for businesses and entrepreneurs.

A fiscal update issued by Finance Minister Bill Morneau in December showed the Liberal government on track to run a deficit of $26.6 billion in the current fiscal year, which ends on March 30, and $28.1 billion next year.

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