Liberals’ Wage Subsidy Extension to Push Program Costs to $107 Billion, PBO Says

By The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
December 9, 2021 Updated: December 9, 2021

OTTAWA—The parliamentary budget officer says the federal government’s plan to extend its wage subsidy will push the overall price for the program to almost $106.7 billion.

The budget officer’s report released this morning estimates that the majority, about $4.8 billion, in subsidies will flow to businesses that continue to see a steep, and persistent drop in revenues.

The remaining $666 million will flow out under a program targeting hard-hit companies in the tourism and hospitality sector.

The Liberals are proposing to extend pandemic aid to still-hurting businesses and provide a $300-a-week benefit to workers subject to a lockdown as part of a $7.4 billion aid bill before the House of Commons.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is scheduled to testify about the legislation during an appearance this morning at the finance committee.

Freeland’s appearance is scheduled for two hours, which was part of an agreement with opposition parties to fast-track the aid bill through the House of Commons.

The Liberals want the bill, known as C-2, to get approval before parliamentarians go on their winter break at the end of next week.