MPs to quiz Morneau on COVID-19 bailout as PBO releases new estimates

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OTTAWA — Parliament’s spending watchdog says three federal measures to help low-income earners, families and seniors weather the economic shock from COVID-19 will cost over $8 billion.

The reports this morning from budget officer Yves Giroux says a special GST credit payment to 13.2 million people will cost $5.67 billion.

A special top-up to the Canada Child Benefit in May to 3.4 million recipients will cost $1.9 billion, Giroux says, with the average payment estimated at $556.

And reducing by 25 per cent the amount seniors have to withdraw this year from registered retirement income funds will cost $506.5 million, the budget officer says.

The reports this morning come hours before Finance Minister Bill Morneau is to answer questions about federal COVID-19 spending measures from the House of Commons finance committee.

The federal government’s economic response package to date is valued at more than $250 billion with half of that being direct financial aid for workers and businesses.