Posted by Marshall Auerback · March 31, 2020 9:49 AM
How does Canada’s fiscal response to the coronavirus stack up so far relative to the rest of the world? Data compiled by the IMF suggests that the totality of Ottawa’s announced measures rank somewhere in the middle among major western economies. Part of the measurement challenges involve disaggregating the direct spending component (e.g., extending unemployment insurance, food assistance, grants, funding for hospitals and health care infrastructure) versus items such as state guarantees for loans to businesses, or tax relief/deferment. Unlike Washington, Ottawa seems to have prioritized relief to individuals over corporate bailouts, but even here is less generous than most major European Union counterparts, as well as the United Kingdom.
If there’s one thing top of mind for most folks, it’s the cost of living. Recent polling commissioned by the Broadbent Institute showed that whether it’s housing, healthcare, or simply paying for daily basics like food, Ontarians and the rest of Canada are worried that their largely stagnated incomes just can’t keep up. And they expect their government to start doing much more to make life affordable.