Canada to present fiscal snapshot on July 8, too early for full update, PM Trudeau says

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian government will unveil a “fiscal and economic snapshot” on July 8 to show much money it has spent combating the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives to a news conference at Rideau Cottage, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada June 16, 2020. REUTERS/Blair Gable

Trudeau, though, said it was still too soon to present a full fiscal update with formal mid- to long-term projections.

The Liberal government has so far unveiled aid programs worth more than C$160 billion ($118 billion) in direct spending, or around 7% of gross domestic product.

The snapshot “will give Canadians an idea of where our economy is right now, how our response compares to that of other countries and what we can expect in the months to come,” Trudeau told a daily briefing.

Canada’s independent parliamentary budget office predicts the deficit for the 2020/21 fiscal year is set to exceed C$250 billion, smashing previous records.

The government last presented a detailed picture of its finances last December. It delayed the annual budget - originally scheduled for March 30 - because of the outbreak.

“An economic and fiscal update would be unrealistic right now because it automatically includes projections for a year, three years, five years ahead ... which quite frankly we couldn’t make any responsible predictions about,” Trudeau said.

Opposition parties are demanding a full update, citing concerns about how the aid money is being spent and the size of likely future budget deficits.

Canada’s 10 provinces are gradually moving to reopen their economies as the outbreak slows. Official data released late on Tuesday showed the total number of cases edged up to 99,467 while the death toll hit 8,213.

Trudeau said Canada was recovering but added: “If there is a second wave, if Canadians fall on hard times because of COVID-19 in the coming months, we will need do more.”

Reporting by David Ljunggren and Kelsey Johnson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Nick Zieminski and Jonathan Oatis