Skip to main content

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in August.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Tuesday that the next federal budget will be tabled on April 19.

The budget will be Ms. Freeland’s first as finance minister and the Liberal government’s first in more than two years. The last federal budget was March 19, 2019.

In her November fall economic statement, Ms. Freeland said the 2021 budget will unveil a plan to spend up to $100-billion over three years on measures to restart the economy. The update also promised that the budget would announce the Liberal government’s next steps toward a national child-care program.

The budget is also expected to unveil the government’s approach to raising new tax revenue from large digital corporations such as Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc., parent company of Google.

A federal budget can be tabled at any time of the year when the House of Commons is sitting, but it is normally released in February or March. The Globe and Mail reported this month that the government had ruled out March or early April for releasing the 2021 budget.

Ottawa’s plan for a later-than-usual budget is fuelling speculation that the Liberals are at least considering the possibility of a late-spring election campaign and using the budget as a form of policy platform. The Liberals lead a minority government, meaning they need the support of at least one other party to survive votes on confidence matters, including a budget.

However, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announced last month that his party will not trigger an election while the country’s focus remains on the COVID-19 pandemic. That means an election prompted by a parliamentary defeat is unlikely.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can go to the governor-general at any time and request an election. Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Richard Wagner is fulfilling the duties of the governor-general on a temporary basis after Julie Payette resigned from the position in January.

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.