A copy of the federal government’s Economic and Fiscal Snapshot 2020 is thumbed through as reporters take part in a media lock-up for the in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

A new poll suggests Canadians are torn on whether the federal government should tighten the taps on COVID-19 spending to keep the deficit from flooding the nation’s future.

The Liberals last week revealed this year’s projected deficit sits at $343 billion, driven by an estimated $231.9 billion in COVID-19 spending, so far, and a massive drop in government revenue.

With the deficit at levels not seen since the Second World War, Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies asked 1,523 Canadians whether they felt the government ought to immediately and quickly begin to scale back pandemic support programs to Canadians and to business.

READ MORE: High unemployment, $343B deficit projected in Liberals’ fiscal snapshot

Forty-one per cent said yes to that question, 44 per cent said no and 15 per cent said they didn’t know or preferred not to answer.

The survey was conducted between July 10 and 12, just after the Liberals released their projections.

It cannot be assigned a margin of error because online polls are not considered truly random.

This week, the Liberal government announced that one of the biggest benefit programs — a federal wage subsidy — will be extended until the end of this year.

READ MORE: Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening

It covers 75 per cent of wages, up to a weekly maximum of $847, for eligible companies and non-profits that have lost at least 30 per cent of their revenues.

“Over the last three months you have seen me come out to talk with Canadians about what we’re doing to help you and your family, your employer, your local businesses deal with this pandemic,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday in announcing the extension.

“We’re going to continue to do that vital work.”

As of July 6, the wage subsidy had paid out $18.01 billion to 252,370 companies. Last week’s fiscal and economic update from the Liberals increased the overall budget to $82.3 billion.

The other marquee support program, the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, is set to expire in the fall.

The $500-a-week benefit had, as of July 5, paid out almost $54.8 billion to 8.25 million people.

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit and how it may affect things in Canada in the long term.

In releasing the deficit projections, the Liberals didn’t set out a plan for how or when they might get the books back to balance.

The survey asked respondents which of two routes traditionally use to cut deficits they would support.

In the survey, 60 per cent said the government ought to focus on cutting government spending, while 21 per cent said the focus should be on raising taxes.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘We want to help’: As overdose deaths spike, beds lay empty at long-term Surrey rehab centre

John Volken Academy searching for ‘students’ to enlist in two-year residential treatment program

PHOTOS: B.C. Day long weekend on White Rock beach

Hundreds of families gathered at the beach Sunday

Seeds of Change Surrey to launch two new programs

United Way of the Lower Mainland donated $77,000

White Rock RCMP to host free bicycle registration clinic

Stolen registered bicycles are easier to return to proper owner if recovered

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Wildfire breaks out near Harrison Hot Springs

1.5 hectare fire is reportedly human caused

Police lay out details of mental health response in Abbotsford over long weekend

APD officers assist mental health team for three hours yesterday, man sent to hospital with injury

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch playoff spot with win

Bandits down Niagara River Lions 70-57 on Sunday, improve to 3-2

Most Read