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Canada Unveils Biggest Economic Relief Package Since World War II

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Canada has unveiled a $77 billion economic relief package on Monday, 30 November, with finance minister Chrystia Freeland, saying it is the country’s largest since the second world war, BBC News reports.

The package provides help to industries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, like travel and tourism and assistance to long-term care homes. Lower and middle income families will also receive stimulus checks for each child under age 6.

”Canada will have its largest budget shortfall in decades, but the package is necessary as we have learned from previous recessions the risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much. We will not repeat the mistakes of the years following the great recession of 2008, she said.

Freeland also said that once the virus is under control and the economy is ready for new growth, it will employ an ambitious stimulus package to be spent over the next three years.

Canada is now experiencing its second wave of coronavirus infections, with the number of active cases more than doubling in November, at least 12,000 Canadians have died of the virus.

Coronavirus shutdowns have battered the country’s economy, last month statistics Canada reported an unemployment rate of 8.9% meaning there are 1.8 million Canadians unable to find a job.

”An additional $1bn will also be directed to vaccine agreements, Canada has secured the most diverse vaccine portfolio in the world and has secured seven different vaccine purchase contracts enough for each Canadian to receive 10 doses, free of charge, Ms Freeland said.

Monday’s announcement is among the first major challenges for Ms Freeland, who took over the role of finance minister in August, after her predecessor Bill Morneau, suddenly stepped down from the post amid an ethics scandal. Ms Freeland, 52, is the first woman to hold the position in Canada, She also serves as the country’s deputy prime minister.

 

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