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

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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.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mach 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press