Public service use of paid leave for reasons related to COVID-19

Kelly McCauley, MP for Edmonton West, requested that the PBO report on costs incurred from the federal Government’s policy of allowing employees to use pay code 699 – paid leave for other reasons for leave related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report presents the findings from 699 leave data provided by the Treasury Board Secretariat and supplementary data provided by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Canada’s purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline: Financial and Economic Considerations – Updated CDEV Financial Reporting – July 2020

In May 2020 the Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV) published its Annual Report 2019, and in June 2020, published its First Quarter Report for 2020. PBO examined these documents as part of our ongoing monitoring of financial reporting on the Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMP) and Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP).

Economic and Fiscal Snapshot 2020: Issues for Parliamentarians

The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) supports Parliament by providing economic and financial analysis for the purposes of raising the quality of parliamentary debate and promoting greater budget transparency and accountability.

This report identifies key issues arising from the Government’s Economic and Fiscal Snapshot published on 8 July 2020.

Net wealth tax on Canadian resident economic families

Peter Julian, MP for New Westminster—Burnaby, requested that the PBO use the recent publication of PBO’s refined family wealth model to estimate the revenues of an annual net wealth tax on Canadian resident economic families equal to 1 per cent of net wealth above $20 million. All asset and liabilities are included in the net wealth tax base, except wealth won in lotteries. The PBO estimates 13,800 Canadian economic families would pay the net wealth tax and that the total net revenue of this measure would be $5.6 billion in 2020-21. The time horizon for this costing is aligned to the PBO’s current Economic and Fiscal Scenario, although fiscal impacts can be expected in subsequent years.

Costing a Guaranteed Basic Income During the COVID Pandemic

This report responds to a request from Senator Yuen Pau Woo to estimate the post-COVID cost of aguaranteed basic income (GBI) program, using parameters set out in Ontario’s basic income pilotproject. PBO presents three estimates based on scenarios that phase-out the benefit by $0.50, $0.25 and $0.15 for each dollar of employment income for the last six months of 2020-21. Also, this reportconsiders the provincial breakdown of the GBI cost. The total estimated gross cost of the defined GBI would range between $47.5 billion and $98.1 billion based on the three scenarios for the six-monthperiod from October 2020 to March 2021.  In addition, the report provides an estimate of the federaland provincial programs for low-income individuals and families, including many non-refundable andrefundable tax credits that could be replaced by the GBI program. PBO estimates the potential offsetsfrom repealing these measures would be just over $15 billion for the same period.

Provincial Government Liquidity Outlook

Economic uncertainties generated by the public health response to COVID 19 and record low oil prices have disrupted financial markets. 
Beginning in March, there was an abrupt global flight to cash, which began to constrain credit access for provincial governments, among other Canadian issuers of debt. Soon after, the Bank of Canada intervened to directly support liquidity in provincial governments’ funding markets by buying short-term and long-term debt, and by purchasing provincial debt on a temporary basis using term repurchase operations.
The purpose of this report is to address questions from several parliamentarians about potential uptake of the new Bank of Canada (the Bank) provincial liquidity-support programs.
The Bank’s liquidity support programs are designed to address temporary financing challenges. Overall, PBO estimates that provincial governments will have liquidity requirements of at least $195 billion by the end of 2021. This accounts for $67 billion in COVID-related provincial spending, $119 billion of provincial debt that must be refinanced in 2020 or 2021, and $9 billion in planned deficits (pre-COVID-19).
On 31 May, the Bank held $59 billion in provincial debt.
Relative to their provincial economies, the governments of Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador have the largest estimated liquidity needs until 2021.
Long-term fiscal sustainability for provincial governments is determined by structural factors and would not be meaningfully affected by these liquidity-support programs.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit – Eight Week Extension and Phase-out Rate

Dan Albas, MP for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, requested that the PBO cost a proposal modifying the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to adopt a phase-out for the benefit of $0.50 for each dollar of employment income above $1,000 per month in addition to the eight week extension announced on June 16, 2020.  
The modifications to the CERB program are assumed to be implemented on July 5, 2020.
PBO estimates the cost to modify the extended CERB program (phased reduction) starting July 5, 2020 to be an additional $3.1 billion.

Supplementary blog post on the Investing in Canada plan

The PBO was asked for clarification regarding the quality of the dataset used in our analysis of the Investing in Canada Plan (IICP).

Federal debt: Frequently Asked Questions

This blog post provides information on frequently asked questions regarding Government of Canada debt. 

Scenario Analysis Update: COVID-19 Pandemic and Oil Price Shocks

This report provides an updated scenario analysis to help parliamentarians gauge potential economic and fiscal implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent oil market developments.
This report incorporates announced federal budgetary measures up to and including 12 June 2020.