Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux waits to appear before the Commons finance committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on March 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux waits to appear before the Commons finance committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on March 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Budget officer says federal wage-subsidy program may cost more this year than planned

Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux’s office says the figure for this year could be closer to $85.5 billion

Parliament’s budget watchdog estimates the Liberals will spend more this year on a wage-subsidy program than expected, but less in 2021.

The Liberals estimated last month the program would cost $83.5 billion this fiscal year when taking into account take-up through the summer and its extension since the fall.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s fall economic statement also estimated the program would cost almost $16.2 billion in the coming fiscal year that starts in April 2021.

Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux’s office says in a report today that the figure for this year could be closer to $85.5 billion and nearly $13.9 billion next year.

The report says estimates about program take-up are subject to a degree of uncertainty about the path the pandemic will take and how it affects the economy overall.

The most recent figures for the program show the government has paid out just over $54 billion in subsidies designed to keep employees on payrolls at 368,240 companies.

The Liberals announced last month they would extend the wage subsidy into next year, and bring the amount it covers up to 75 per cent of business payroll costs, which had been a key ask from hard-hit sectors like tourism.

The fall economic statement also extended the business rent subsidy to mid-March, updating a program that had low take-up previously because the money flowed through landlords in the form of loans, which property owners showed little interest in taking.

The economic statement forecasted the revamped commercial rent-relief program will cost $2.18 billion this fiscal year.

Giroux estimates the cost to be just under $3 billion this fiscal year, and almost $1.6 billion next fiscal year.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Edna Whiteley in 2016. “Her whole life has been happy and about helping others,” says her nephew Bob Steed. Photo: Submitted
Nelson’s ‘little firecracker’ Edna Whiteley turns 100

Whiteley is known as a welcoming ambassador for new arrivals in the city

Photo: Trail Times
Trail property taxes will go up 3.99 per cent in 2021

Trail council kept the 2020 property tax rate at 0 % over the previous year

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

An animal carrier full of bullet holes and containing a dead animal was found near Castlegar. Photo: Colleen Schwartz
Castlegar woman finds dead animal inside carrier riddled with bullet holes

The remains were discovered near Syringa Creek Provincial Park

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
Man arrested in incident at Canada-U.S. border near Roosville

A man who crossed the border illegally was apprehended by U.S. officials

Most Read