COVID-19: Ottawa Ready to Extend Relief Programs After September 25

Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland stands ready to expand aid programs for businesses and individuals after September 25, if necessary, and maintain aid programs for specific sectors whose recovery will slow down.

While in Boisbrian on Monday, where she met with the region’s mayors and executives at Bell Textron’s Mirabela helicopter plant, Ms Freeland acknowledged that the expansion may be needed while the recovery is weaker than the April 19 budget.

“We look at all the economic signs and, if there is a need to extend the programs, we will do it. I am very optimistic about my recovery, […] but on the other hand, I know that the opening of the economy began a little later than we thought in April. So we will balance, we will look at the situation, and the most important thing is to listen to people, ”she said at a press briefing.

Ms Freeland recalled in passing that Ottawa had given itself the right to expand programs in the budget “as needed”.

Health and economic parameters

However, the decision to extend or withdraw will not be based solely on GDP growth data, she said. Thus, from a health perspective, several parameters will be considered, notably vaccination rates, new infections and hospitalizations, and careful monitoring of the progression of the Delta variant, in particular in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States.

On the economic front, Ottawa will closely monitor employment levels, unemployment, hours worked and closing the gap between current production and pre-pandemic production.

Industry assistance

Christia Freeland was also well aware that not all sectors would be able to catch their breath in the short term.

“We have special programs that specifically target the tourism and cultural sectors,” she cited as an example, recalling that more general assistance programs targeting all businesses are costly compared to the default turnover. industry assistance. …

The Treasury Secretary also explained that her government is very closely monitoring inflation, which is experiencing a sharp increase, especially in the consumer goods sector, but she said that she fully relies on the professionalism of the Bank of Canada in controlling inflation. Last week, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Maclem pledged that the central bank will contain inflation if temporary price pressures persist and become more permanent.

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