Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux waits to appear before the Commons Finance committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday March 10, 2020. Parliament’s spending watchdog says a series of rail blockades last month will leave a minimal dent in the pace of economic growth. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Minimal hit to economic growth from rail blockades, PBO says in new report

Parliamentary budget officer says COVID-19 will likely have larger effect than blockades

Parliament’s spending watchdog says a series of rail blockades last month will leave a minimal dent in the pace of economic growth.

The report today estimates the blockades will shave two-tenths of a percentage point off economic growth for the first quarter, with the effects dissipating through the rest of 2020.

The rail blockades sprung up in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in B.C. who oppose a natural-gas pipeline through their traditional territory.

ALSO READ: Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks

ALSO READ: Caution, with a time limit — How Trudeau’s patience with rail blockades ended

Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux says COVID-19 will likely have a larger effect on the economy than the blockades, warning the novel coronavirus has made the short-term economic picture far bleaker than it was just a few weeks ago.

His comments comes as private-sector economists warn that Canada is heading into a recession because of the economic shock of COVID-19, which may only be avoided with hefty stimulus spending from the federal government — as much as $20 billion.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is expected to address reporters this afternoon, one day after he tried to reassure volatile markets that continued to fall over COVID-19 concerns.

ALSO READ: Bank of Canada cuts rate target to 0.75% in response to COVID-19

The Liberals had promised to deliver a budget on March 30, but that is delayed after the House of Commons agreed not to sit until late April to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 13, 2020.

The Canadian Press

CN Rail

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

Just Posted

Visitor to Kamloops army club tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The individual visited Anavets 290 Army and Navy Club between March 13 and March 17

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

A grateful community

Another community convoy to thank health care workers is planned for April 5

Forestry Ink: Introduced, not invasive species

Columnist Jim Hilton writes about animals that are considered invasive

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

How to cope with your mental health during a global pandemic

Becca Shears, clinical counsellor in Vanderhoof speaks about ways to deal with stress and anxiety during this time.

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

Most Read