Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland arrives to deliver the budget in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 19, 2021.


Ottawa’s massive pandemic budget still falls short on measures needed to contain COVID-19 and on providing cash for affordable housing, while ignoring a call for billions in new health care funding, provincial and municipal leaders say.

Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said Monday the new federal budget brings in nothing to stop new variants of COVID-19 at the borders or expand the supply of vaccines. And, he pointed out, it fails to deliver the massive infusion of baseline health care funding sought unanimously by all of the country’s premiers.

Federal government targets child care, COVID-19 relief in a wave of new spending, as deficit projected to hit $354-billion

For this generation of Liberals, government’s role is to do everything within its reach

Liberals bet big that we can spend our way out of deficit problems

His own Progressive Conservative provincial government has faced a vehement backlash in recent days over pandemic measures many say will do too little to stop its hospitals from being swamped by COVID-19. At the centre of the fight is a refusal by the Ontario government to bring in paid sick days for essential workers, which medical experts say could curb the spread of the virus.

Story continues below advertisement

But on Monday, Mr. Bethlenfalvy pointed to Ottawa as the problem, saying the new budget makes no changes to the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, a program meant to compensate workers who take time off to self-isolate that critics say is too miserly and subject to delays.

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson welcomed Ottawa’s commitment to a new national $10-a-day child-care plan as “very, very significant” and said she is looking forward to more details in order to see how it can bolster her province’s years-long attempt to implement such a program.

She also welcomed the budget’s new vacancy tax, but said she was disappointed the federal government dedicated no new resources to creating a system of paid sick leave.

Personal finance columnist Rob Carrick outlines the federal budget’s plans for discounted child care, money for seniors and extending the interest-free period for student loans. But the budget is light on details on how Ottawa will pay for pandemic recovery measures and what it will do to cool the housing market.

Manitoba Finance Minister Scott Fielding said addressing the federal health transfer is his government’s No. 1 issue.

“We’re struggling, as other provinces are, with wait times, so we would like to use unencumbered money to address health care wait times,” he told reporters at the legislature in Winnipeg.

The new budget includes nearly $2.5-billion in new funding for affordable housing and accelerates the spending of $1.3-billion in previously announced cash. But the plans still fall short of the ambitions outlined by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Before the budget, FCM had asked Ottawa to ramp up its $1-billion Rapid Housing Initiative, into a $7-billion program. However, Monday’s budget includes just another $1.5-billion for the next round of the initiative, which provides cash to municipalities to fast-track quick-build “modular” affordable housing projects.

Story continues below advertisement

“The nice part is that they saw the evidence that it’s working. They took a step toward it. We’ll have to keep down this path,” said Garth Frizzell, FCM president and a city councillor in Prince George, B.C.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said a $300-million fund to convert disused office space into housing could help Calgary’s hard-hit downtown a little bit. But the other housing funding won’t be enough to address chronic homelessness, he said.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said while the budget reconfirms previously announced large cash commitments for transit and infrastructure, municipalities need more funding to recover from COVID-19.

“Cities need this support to deal with the ongoing impact of the pandemic and the administration of vaccines that must be done so we can bring this emergency to an end,” he said in a statement.

This budget’s national child-care plan – Quebec already has its own in place – will require talks with other provinces. Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said he would work with Ottawa, but warned against a “one-size-fits-all approach.”

Saskatchewan Finance Minister Donna Harpauer, who also said she was disappointed with the lack of an increase to health care transfers, argued the federal government should make the new child-care funding flexible.

Story continues below advertisement

“My concern is that it doesn’t tie up dollars that we would maybe like to spend elsewhere, such as mental health and addictions,” Ms. Harpauer said.

The 2021 federal budget will continue economic support for businesses and individuals through the summer with a roadmap to wind them down later in the year as more Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19.

With reports from Carrie Tait and Pratyush Dayal

Know what is happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary as selected by Globe editors (subscribers only). Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the authors of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies