Costing 2018 Fall Economic Statement and Off-Cycle Measures

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On September 21, 2017, the Parliament of Canada Act was revised to expand the PBO’s mandate to include estimating the financial cost of election campaign proposals. In preparation for the upcoming 2019 federal general election, PBO used the 2018 Fall Economic Statement as an opportunity to assess its existing capacity to cost a variety of policy initiatives within a limited period of time.  This exercise relied, as much as possible, on the templates and process described in PBO’s framework for estimating the financial cost of election campaign proposals.[i]

The 2018 Fall Economic Statement contained around 77 fiscal initiatives that were either new measures announced for the first time, or ones that had been announced after the publication of Budget 2018 (that is, off-cycle measures).  PBO assessed the suitability of all new and off-cycle measures for independent costing.  These were classified as one of two types:

1) Measures of total spending envelopes, for which the government commits to allocating a specific amount of resources for a certain policy; or,

2) Measures that are specific and sufficiently detailed, have a proven track record, and for which either the number of stakeholders affected by the policy or their potential benefits/costs are clearly identifiable.

PBO’s electoral costing framework, “Estimating the financial cost of election campaign proposals: a framework” indicates only the latter is expected to be considered for independent cost analysis as part of the 2019 electoral platform costing exercise.[ii]

Of the roughly 77 measures, PBO identified 22 that satisfied the necessary criteria.  The number of measures was further reduced to 8 due to additional factors, such as pending parameter information.  All 8 independent cost estimates include a six-year projection, beginning in the 2018-19 fiscal year.

$millions

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

2022-23

2023-24

Immediate Expensing for Clean Energy Equipment

57

203

114

71

50

15

Mineral Exploration Tax Credit

-

90

70

75

75

80

Countermeasures and Remissions on Steel, Aluminum, and Other US Imports

-985

-1,356

-1,093

-

-

-

Steel, Aluminum Work-Sharing Extensions

small

1

1

1

-1

-1

Earlier Implementation of EI Parental Sharing Benefit

26

53

-9

-10

-10

-10

Supporting Workers in Seasonal Industries

36

107

34

-30

-31

-32

Taxation of Communal Organizations

38

14

14

15

15

15

Charity limits on non-partisan political activities

15

26

27

27

28

28

 

[i] PBO, “Estimating the financial cost of election campaign proposals: a framework”, 2018, url: https://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/web/default/files/Documents/General/CampaignFramework_EN_FINAL.pdf

[ii] ibid

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  • 23 April 2018
    On September 21, 2017, the Parliament of Canada Act was revised to expand the PBO’s mandate to include estimating the financial cost of election campaign proposals.  In preparation of the upcoming 2019 federal general election, PBO has independently estimated the fiscal impact of 10 revenue and spending measures announced in Budget 2018.
    This report reflects the PBO’s active response to this mandate expansion, containing independent cost estimates that were prepared and published in less than 60 days.