Federal government launches pre-budget consultations

By Ian Burns

Law360 Canada (January 25, 2021, 3:57 PM EST) -- Ottawa has begun to plot its financial course for 2021 — and wants to hear from you.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mona Fortier, the minister of middle class prosperity, launched pre-budget consultations Jan. 25. Freeland said the government is “listening directly to Canadians so we can ensure Canada’s investments have the greatest impact” and is inviting people to share their ideas through an online questionnaire at LetsTalkBudget2021.ca.

“We want to hear ideas from Canadians, from all walks of life, on how to restore strong growth, forge a more resilient middle class, and build back better,” she said. “This is your budget. Tell us what matters most to you.”

But Freeland and the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have a steep hill to climb as they continue to tackle massive strain put on the economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Ottawa’s fiscal plan the national deficit will balloon to $381.6 billion in 2020-21, but is expected to fall to $121.2 billion in 2021-22 and $50.7 billion in 2022-23.

Fortier said the government’s top priority remains supporting workers and businesses and protecting the health and well-being of all Canadians.

“Over the coming weeks, we will be listening to your ideas about how the government can support clean economic growth, create good jobs, improve Canadians’ quality of life and ensure our recovery is inclusive and progressive for the middle class,” she said.

The government is also holding virtual round tables with individuals from a range of regions, sectors and industries, including those hardest hit by the pandemic. Consultations continue until Feb. 19.

If you have any information, story ideas or news tips for The Lawyer’s Daily please contact Ian Burns at Ian.Burns@lexisnexis.ca or call 905-415-5906.