Canada unveils new financial program to stimulate economy

Ottawa, Dec 1 (IANS) The Canadian government has unveiled a new financial program to boost the country’s economy amid the raging coronavirus pandemic.
Titled “Supporting Canadians and Fighting Covid-19”, the 237-page fiscal update launched on Monday offers a revised look at the Canadian economy and the impact of the ongoing pandemic-induced recession on the country’s economic outlook, reports Xinhua news agency.
“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,” the Canadian government said in a statement.
Details of the stimulus program worth C$70 billion to C$100 billion will be budgeted over the next three fiscal years starting from April 1, 2021.
The country’s national deficit is projected to hit at least C$381.6 billion for this fiscal year, up from the forecast of C$343.2 billion in July.
The government’s immediate priority is to do whatever it takes to help Canadians and businesses stay safe and solvent amid the pandemic challenge, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said at the Canadian House of Commons Monday afternoon.
“We will invest in every necessary and helpful public health measure. And we will support Canadian families and Canadian businesses, in a deliberate, prudent and effective way,” she said, adding that the government plans to make the post-pandemic economy “more innovative, inclusive and resilient than the one that preceded it”.
“Spending roughly 3 to 4 per cent of the GDP, over three years, our government will make carefully judged, targeted and meaningful investments to create jobs and boost growth,” she said.
The risks associated with not providing enough economic support right now outweigh those involved in spending too much, the Minister said, adding that the government will keep monitoring the employment rate, total hours worked and the level of unemployment in the economy to determine when to end the stimulus spending.
The updated program includes several policy announcements.
The Canadian government is moving ahead with a promise to require international digital companies such as Netflix to collect and remit federal sales tax on digital sales.
It is also planning restrictions on stock option deduction.
A plan to offset the cost of energy retrofits for homeowners will receive C$2.6 billion over seven years, and an existing program to build electric vehicle charging stations will receive an additional C$150 million.
The government is also increasing the maximum Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy rate from 65 per cent to 75 per cent, starting December 20 and continuing until March 13, 2021.

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