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

Women win provincial award for Williams Lake Farmers Market work

Co-market managers Jane Bowser and Barb Scharf share the honour

DOWN TO EARTH: Adjusting to our new normal

Water wise instructor says school shutdown prompts finding ways to reach out to community

WLIB breaks ground on $8 million-plus administration building construction project

Safety precautions will be in place to protect workes on site against COVID-19

COVID-19: Williams Lake 83rd annual Bull Show and Sale goes online only

The event is one ranchers look forward to every year

Sand and unfilled bags available for rural residents to prepare for spring melt

Cariboo Regional District has placed materials at Wildwood and Miocene Volunteer Fire Departments

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

Most Read