EDITORIAL: Pandemic carries a staggering cost

Forecasts from the federal government predict close to two million Canadians without jobs and a federal deficit of $343.2 billion. Canada’s debt is also growing and predicted to top $1.2 trillion by the end of the fiscal year.

These bleak economic conditions come as a result of Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Early into the pandemic, Ottawa responded quickly with numerous assistance programs for individuals and businesses affected by the shutdowns.

Many received payments under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Others received other forms of assistance from the federal government. The payments made a difference for many who would otherwise struggle financially, especially in the early weeks of the pandemic.

RELATED: $5 billion fall tax bill too much for B.C. business, NDP told

RELATED: Cut sales tax, boost daycare, B.C. business group urges

Providing little or nothing in the way of assistance might have taken the pressure off the federal government, but such a choice would have pushed vast numbers of Canadians into financial stress.

The question to ask now is what happens next.

Under the best-case scenario, if a vaccine or a cure were suddenly developed, it would be possible for the Canadian economy to rebound and for those now receiving the benefits to return to work. But the federal government would still need to address the debt and deficit.

Money woes do not simply vanish on their own. If the pandemic continues for another year or two, or if a second wave were to develop, the effects would be much worse.

At this point, there is no value in pointing fingers or in asking whether the federal government should have taken a different approach in its response to this pandemic. The more important question is how to respond from here. The answer is elusive since nobody knows how long this pandemic will continue or whether a second wave will result in another massive shutdown.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many in Canada. The costs of coping with this pandemic will be felt for many years to come.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Just Posted

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Accused in Makayla Chang’s murder sees next court date in October

Steven Michael Bacon faces first-degree murder charge in killing of Nanaimo teen

One person dead in two-vehicle accident near Courtenay

Highway 19A was closed for several hours following the crash

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at parking lot at Lowe’s last month

Pair of Port Alberni buildings ‘offensive’ and in danger of being seized

‘Deplorable conditions’ in buildings include emergency exits welded shut, human waste in hallways

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Conservation officers free fawn stuck in fence in Nanaimo

Fawn was uninjured after getting caught in fence in Hammond Bay area Wednesday

Nanaimo senior defrauded out of $14,000 in ‘grandson scam’

80-year-old victim was told her grandson was out-of-province and in legal trouble

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

New branch of Royal BC Museum to be built in Colwood

New faclity in the Royal Bay development will house collections, archives and research department

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read