Towards a record deficit

Towards a record deficit

Uncover fake news, verify politicians' statements, find the real numbers: our Bureau of Investigation researchers, based in Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa, specialize in the art of setting the record straight. Every Saturday, they present their findings to you so you can see more clearly in the news of the week.


The President of the Treasury Board, Jean-Yves Duclos, was asked on Monday about Canada's deficit during the crisis.

“We have in Canada one of the lowest debt ratios relative to the size of the economy of any developed country and certainly one of the lowest in the history of the country,” he replied, arguing that the country is in a favorable situation.


Towards a record deficit

Before the start of the pandemic, Canada indeed had one of the best debt ratios among developed countries, which offered leeway to put in place several measures to deal with the coronavirus.

According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Canada's deficit would already represent 12% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020-2021 when only half of the fiscal year has passed. “As a proportion of the economy, this budget deficit would be the largest deficit ever recorded [since data was compiled this way, in 1966-67],” he wrote in June.

This record deficit could increase even more since the government of Justin Trudeau is due to present a new economic stimulus plan this fall. Other expenses could therefore be added to the shortfall which is already $ 343 billion this year.

Note also that the rating agency Fitch lowered in June the credit rating of Canada in connection with the “deterioration of its public finances” during the pandemic.

Number of the week: $ 849

This is the average cost per month for housing in Gatineau according to a survey by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. This is the second highest average rent in Quebec according to the CMHC, which lists the average rental costs in cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants. The only city in Quebec with the highest average is Saint-Sauveur, at $ 994. This average is however inflated by the large share of recreational tourism rentals. Gatineau is therefore the big city with the highest rents in Quebec, as the mayor of Gatineau, Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin indicated this week in reacting to the agreement in principle concluded between Quebec and Ottawa for social housing. His city is followed by Montreal at $ 841 and Quebec at $ 838. The Quebec average is $ 800. The three cities with the cheapest rents are La Tuque ($ 428), Dolbeau-Mistassini ($ 460) and Saint-Raymond-de-Portneuf ($ 481).

– Marie Christine Trottier

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