Yves Giroux, the parliamentary budget officer, is expected to post a costing note on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which is providing $2,000 a month for four months to Canadians forced out of work due to the pandemic, in an April 30, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Parliamentary budget officer weighs costliest federal emergency aid programs

$145 billion into emergency aid so far

OTTAWA — Canadians will get an update today on two of the costliest emergency aid programs the federal government has initiated to help them weather the COVID-19 crisis.

The parliamentary budget officer is scheduled to post a costing note on the 75 per cent wage subsidy — a program the government expects to cost $73 billion and which it has called the largest economic policy in Canada since the Second World War.

Yves Giroux is also expected to post a costing note on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which is providing $2,000 a month for four months to Canadians forced out of work due to the pandemic.

The government has estimated the cost of that program at $35 billion, but has expanded the eligibility criteria several times to add those initially left out, including workers earning up to $1,000 per month, seasonal workers and those who have exhausted their regular employment insurance benefits.

In total, the federal government has so far poured $145 billion into emergency aid and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised more to come, including for seniors.

He is not expected to announce any new funding today, however. His daily briefing on the pandemic is likely to be overtaken by questions about another tragedy — the crash of a Royal Canadian Air Force’s Cyclone helicopter into the Mediterranean Sea late Wednesday.

The Cyclone was participating in a NATO exercise off the coast of Greece when the crash occurred, the Canadian Armed Forces has said.

The military said a search and rescue operation was under way and declined all other comment.

However, Greek state broadcaster ERT said one body had been found and five others on board were missing.

While Trudeau will likely be preoccupied with that bad news, MPs on six House of Commons committees will be delving into various aspects of the federal response to the pandemic.

Industry Minister Navdeep Bains — who is spearheading the drive to mobilize Canadian researchers and scientists in the campaign to develop tests, treatments and ultimately a vaccine to protect against the novel coronavirus — is to testify at the industry committee.

And Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen, who is responsible for measures aimed at helping children, seniors and the homeless through the pandemic, is to testify at the human resources committee.

That committee is also scheduled to hear from the head of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. The CMHC is administering the federal government’s new program to relieve eligible small businesses of 75 per cent of their rent payments due in April, May and June.

Meanwhile, the procedure and House affairs committee is scheduled to hear how legislatures in Wales, Scotland and the United Kingdom are handling the move to virtual sittings as politicians, like everyone else, try to keep physical distance from one another to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Canada’s MPs held their first virtual gathering on Tuesday, which was deemed generally successful despite numerous glitches in using unaccustomed video-conferencing technology.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2020.

CoronavirusFederal Government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta discussing early Stage 2 economic relaunch

Nineteen new COVID-19 cases confirmed by government Wednesday

Sylvan Lake-based Family Resource Network servicing Eckville, Benalto

Due to COVID-19 supports are being delivered through phone calls, texts, online platforms and emails

Documentary about a Sylvan Lake man and his team to be featured at Okotoks Film Festival

Living the Warrior Code documents Scott Mcdermott and his team’s journey back to the Ultraman race

Israeli, Chinese policies ‘concern’ Canada, undermine freedom, says Trudeau

Israeli, Chinese policies ‘concern’ Canada, undermine freedom, says Trudeau

House of Commons can manage virtual voting securely if MPs want it, Speaker says

House of Commons can manage virtual voting securely if MPs want it, Speaker says

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Sylvan Lake News is firmly committed to seeing you through the changes ahead, but we need your help

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Sylvan Lake News is firmly committed to seeing you through the changes ahead, but we need your help

Hydroxychloroquine does not prevent COVID after exposure to the virus: study

Hydroxychloroquine does not prevent COVID after exposure to the virus: study

Nunavut RCMP to consider body cameras as tension between police, Inuit grows

Nunavut RCMP to consider body cameras as tension between police, Inuit grows

Stockwell Day steps down from several roles after comments about racism

Stockwell Day steps down from several roles after comments about racism

Trudeau to join global COVID-19 vaccine fundraiser amid calls for fair access

Trudeau to join global COVID-19 vaccine fundraiser amid calls for fair access

Joint inquiry or review of mass killing taking shape, N.S. justice minister says

Joint inquiry or review of mass killing taking shape, N.S. justice minister says

Greens likely to hold virtual leadership convention due to pandemic: May

Greens likely to hold virtual leadership convention due to pandemic: May

Meng hearing schedule to expand; lawyers ask for ‘referee’ in case

Meng hearing schedule to expand; lawyers ask for ‘referee’ in case

Most Read