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Canada Was a Big Pandemic Spender, But Didn't Achieve Top Results

A report released by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation shows the government of Canada spent the 5th most among industrialized peers but didn’t achieve the best health-care outcomes and had below-average economic results during the pandemic.

“More tax dollars spent on the pandemic didn’t mean better health or economic results,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director with the CTF. “It’s time for Canadian governments to rein in the borrowing and stop racking up debt.”

The CTF’s report compares all G20 countries using the International Monetary Fund’s most recent 2021 data on COVID-19 related government expenditures. The report found that there is no clear relationship between high levels of government spending on the pandemic and better health and economic outcomes.

Canada was the 5th largest spender, with pandemic spending totaling 15.9 per cent of GDP. Despite the large sums spent by the government, Canada ranked 8th in preventing deaths and 12th in economic activity in 2020 and 2021 among G20 countries.

South Korean governments spent less than the G20 average on the pandemic and had the 3rd lowest deaths and 3rd best economic outcomes in 2020.

The government of Canada’s spending had reached all-time highs before the pandemic. The 2021 federal budget plans to increase permanent spending by more than $100 billion by 2026.

“Instead of prioritizing spending, Ottawa wants to spend more money on everything forever,” said Terrazzano. “The federal government should bring spending back to pre-pandemic levels, which were already all-time highs, and work toward balancing the budget.”

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