In an unprecedented time, the federal government has delivered an unprecedented budget. At almost 800 pages, the federal government’s 2021 budget (“Budget 2021”) is massive in size and spending.
This is a budget of firsts—the first budget since 2019, the first budget by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, and the first budget delivered by a woman.
Budget 2021 introduces record levels of spending, largely driven by the support programs that have been provided to Canadians and Canadian businesses since the beginning of the pandemic. The deficit for the fiscal year 2020-21 was $354.2 billion and next year’s deficit is expected to be $154.7 billion. By the end of that second fiscal year, the federal debt is expected to climb to over $1.2 trillion.
Budget 2021 continues last year’s trend of continued spending on support programs, including extensions to existing programs and new programs to assist individuals and businesses. Significant spending on assistance programs appears to be winding down, and the government appears to be shifting gears from providing economic supports to providing economic stimulus.