Pandemic erases Quebec’s projected surplus, throws province into $15-billion deficit

Pandemic erases Quebec’s projected surplus, throws province into $15-billion deficit
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Quebec is projecting a $15-billion deficit for the current fiscal year, three months after Finance Minister Eric Girard forecast a surplus of nearly $3 billion.

Girard’s economic update, released today, also plans for a second wave of COVID-19, setting aside $4 billion to manage the fallout.

Before the pandemic, Girard had estimated in early March the fiscal year would end with a $2.7-billion surplus, but he now says Quebec is looking at a $14.9 billion hole in its 2021-21 budget.

The update says the COVID-19 crisis forced the province to inject $3.7 billion in the health sector, as well as $1 billion to help workers and another $2 billion for companies.

Since March, provincial revenues fell by $8.5 billion.

Girard expects the province’s GDP to shrink this year by 6.5 per cent, when just three months ago, he predicted it would grow by 2 per cent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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