November 30, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada
A second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has gripped people and economies around the world, including Canada.
Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, released Supporting Canadians and Fighting COVID-19: Fall Economic Statement 2020. This plan will continue to protect Canadians’ health, jobs and the economy.
The Government of Canada’s priority continues to be fighting COVID-19 and protecting Canadians’ health and safety. The federal government has provided extraordinary support to provinces and territories to this end. Canada has also secured the most diverse portfolio of vaccine candidates of any country in the world, with agreements for up to 429 million doses from seven leading candidates. And when a safe and effective vaccine is available, the federal government will make it available, for free. Until such time, testing and tracing continue to be critical in our defence against the virus. That is why the Government of Canada has procured over 38 million rapid tests, which is three times the total number of tests performed in Canada since the pandemic began. Recognizing the tragic deaths from COVID-19 that we saw in the spring, the Fall Economic Statement moves forward with a plan to set new national standards and seeks to establish a new $1 billion Safe Long-term Care Fund that will help provinces and territories protect seniors and our most vulnerable.
The Fall Economic Statement also provided an update on the Canadian economy, showing that the Government of Canada’s unprecedented investment has effectively managed to stabilize the economy through the crisis. Nearly 80 per cent of the jobs lost at the start of this crisis have been recouped and bankruptcies are well below levels prior to this pandemic. However, many businesses continue to face significant challenges as Canadians limit physical contacts and employment gains have been slower for women, young people, racialized Canadians and lower income workers. The coming months will be difficult and ongoing fiscal support will remain necessary deep into 2021 in order to protect jobs and prevent widespread permanent losses in our economy.
Once the virus is under control, the Government of Canada will invest in a growth plan of roughly three to four per cent of GDP, between up to $70 and $100 billion, over three years, to jumpstart our recovery. Time-limited investments will build Canada out of this recession towards an economy that is cleaner, more inclusive, more innovative and more competitive. The Fall Economic Statement puts a down payment on this growth plan, investing in measures that can be safely implemented now and begins work on transformative initiatives such as a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care System, programs to support the economy’s green transformation and initiatives to address systemic racism.
Canada entered the pandemic in a position of strength, with the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio among G7 peers, a position it still retains. Our history of prudent fiscal management and current historically low borrowing rates have meant that Canada’s debt is affordable now, and will be for future generations. In fact, federal debt-servicing costs, relative to the size of Canada’s economy, are at a 100-year low.
The Government of Canada’s fiscal management remains prudent and responsible, including for future generations. The Fall Economic Statement will support Canadians through this crisis and ensure Canada’s future economy is resilient, inclusive, and strong for everyone.