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Canada to set aside C$12 billion to extend main pandemic supports in budget - newspaper

Economy Apr 18, 2021 12:15PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Canadian flag flies in front of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will set aside C$12 billion ($9.6 billion) to extend its main pandemic support measures in a budget to be presented on Monday, the Toronto Star reported, as much of the country battles a virulent third wave of COVID-19 infections.

The emergency wage subsidy and the emergency rent subsidy, due to expire in June, will be extended to the end of September, the Star reported on Sunday.

Separately, the government will create the "Canada Recovery Hiring Program" in June meant to help those companies depending on the wage subsidy to pivot to hiring again, the newspaper said.

The Finance Ministry declined to confirm or comment on the report. However, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp on Sunday that government pandemic supports would continue for as long as needed.

"If Canadians need that support and the pandemic continues, the government will certainly have their backs," Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson also confirmed that the budget would be "ambitious" and that the government would "invest for jobs and growth to rebuild this economy," though he also said there would be "fiscal guardrails" to put spending on a "sustainable track".

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will present the country's first budget in two years on Monday after promising in November up to C$100 billion in stimulus over three years to "jump-start" an economic recovery during what is likely to be an election year.

Canada has been ramping up its vaccination campaign but still has a smaller percentage of its population inoculated than dozens of other countries, including the United States and Britain.

Amid a spiking third wave of infections, Ontario, Canada's most populous province, announced new public health restrictions on Friday, including closing the province's borders to domestic travelers.

($1 = 1.2501 Canadian dollars)

Canada to set aside C$12 billion to extend main pandemic supports in budget - newspaper
 

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