COVID-19 relief measures pushed Canada’s deficit up to $216.6 billion in the first seven months of the pandemic.
The deficit figure is based on spending between April and October and compared with a deficit of $9.1 billion reported for the same period last year.
The government says in a fiscal monitor released Friday that the total is up because of the economy’s severe deterioration and temporary measures implemented to stop the spread of COVID-19 and support Canadians and their businesses.
It says wage subsidies, rent relief programs and other recovery benefits pushed the government’s expenses excluding net actuarial losses to $348.6 billion, up 96.3 per cent from $177.6 billion the year before.
Major transfers to people including the elderly and those on employment insurance totalled about $131.7 billion, up 132.5 per cent from $56.6 billion the year before.
EI benefits increased by 287 per cent to $39.4 billion as the country responded to unemployment arising form the pandemic and temporary changes to the employment insurance program.
The Canadian Press
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