A study done of COVID-19 shows the federal government has led the way on spending.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says between Federal and Provincial spending there has been $374 Billion in direct spending on pandemic relief. They break it down as 92 per cent of every dollar came from the federal government, with the rest coming from provinces as of December 31, 2020.
“It’s only fitting that the federal government took the lead during this crisis given historically low interest rates and a manageable debt-to-GDP ratio,” said study author and CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald. “That being said, it’s clear that many provinces are leaving money on the table during a time of unprecedented crisis. There is fiscal room for many provinces to step up and do more.”
In the province of Ontario, the report states about $9,800 will be spent per person on some form of relief, whether it be business or personal. The current contingency fund the provincial government has of funds given to it versus funds spent is about 6.4 Billion dollars.
“It’s incredibly problematic that several provinces do not yet have plans to spend federal money in health care, long-term care and housing at a time when it’s so urgently needed,” adds Macdonald. “When it comes to government spending, this has largely been a federal show. There is room to do more, particularly at the provincial level, to mitigate the pandemic’s impacts. Post-pandemic, all levels of government must work together to rebuild better – to be prepared for future crises, to tackle the inequities that COVID-19 has exposed, and to improve public services.”
Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Alberta are also sitting on unallocated funds.