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Canada's deficit hit $216.6B between April and October from COVID-19 relief

OTTAWA — COVID-19 relief measures pushed Canada's deficit up to $216.6 billion in the first seven months of the pandemic. The deficit figure is based on spending between April and October and compared with a deficit of $9.
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OTTAWA — COVID-19 relief measures pushed Canada's deficit up to $216.6 billion in the first seven months of the pandemic.

The deficit figure is based on spending between April and October and compared with a deficit of $9.1 billion reported for the same period last year. 

The government says in a fiscal monitor released Friday that the total is up because of the economy's severe deterioration and temporary measures implemented to stop the spread of COVID-19 and support Canadians and their businesses.

It says wage subsidies, rent relief programs and other recovery benefits pushed the government's expenses excluding net actuarial losses to $348.6 billion, up 96.3 per cent from $177.6 billion the year before.

Major transfers to people including the elderly and those on employment insurance totalled about $131.7 billion, up 132.5 per cent from $56.6 billion the year before.

EI benefits increased by 287 per cent to $39.4 billion as the country responded to unemployment arising form the pandemic and temporary changes to the employment insurance program.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 18, 2020.

The Canadian Press