Concessions made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to avoid a federal election in the fall will cost Canadian taxpayers $14.39 billion over the next two years, the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) said in three cost-estimate reports.
Last month, after Trudeau outlined his vision for the impeding economic recovery in a Throne Speech delivered on his behalf, the Prime Minister faced a vote of non-confidence, which would have brought down the incumbent Liberal government and triggered an election.
Canada’s New Democrat Party (NDP) asked that the Liberal government present legislation that would keep the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – a $1,400 benefit for workers affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic – intact and introduce paid sick leave in order to support the recovery plan.
The PBO estimates that the Canada Response Benefit (CRB), which replaces the CERB, will cost $9.69 billion in 2020-2021 and $3.84 billion in 2021-2022, while the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will cost $451.68 million in 2020-2021 and $414.73 million in 2021-2022.
A separate report found that the cost of the Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit (CRCB) – a $377.02 weekly benefit for those who spend at least half of their time caring for someone affected by the novel coronavirus will cost $844 million in 2020-21 and $161.37 million in 2021-22.
The cost of the two concessionary programs is expected to total $14.39 billion, while total cost of the three COVID-19 recovery benefit programs, including the CRCB, is expected to be $15.45 billion over the next two fiscal years. The PBO also announced that a four-week extension of the CERB will cost an additional $4.04 billion bring the initial $18.14-billion program to $57.84 billion.