Budget 2022: Issues for parliamentarians

Abstract

To assist parliamentarians in their budgetary deliberations, this report highlights key issues arising from Budget 2022.

Highlights

  • Since the start of the pandemic, the Government has spent, or has planned to spend, $576 billion in new measures—over 35 per cent, $204.5 billion, of this spending is not part of the COVID-19 Response Plan.

  • Implementation of any remaining measures from the Liberal Party of Canada’s 2021 election platform, as well as additional commitments not included in Budget 2022, such as Pharmacare, will impact the budgetary balance going forward.

  • Budget 2022 includes new spending on tax compliance, which is expected to recover $3.4 billion in revenues. There is downside risk to the projected recovery in revenues due to a likely increase in the number of objections and appeals from taxpayers and CRA’s performance on the collection of arrears.

  • The Government expects to reduce spending by $9.0 billion beginning in 2023-24. The Government intends to review and identify areas to reduce spending. However, specific details regarding the scope of the review have not yet been announced.

  • The tabling of Budget 2022 a month after the Government’s Main Estimates decouples the Government’s fiscal planning from the medium-term operational plans tabled in Parliament. Parliamentarians could be well served by adopting a new legislative or administrative framework to enforce better alignment among the Government’s various financial reports.