Comparing provincial economic responses to COVID-19

Policy Note by  and  April 23, 2020. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. See full report at

“All provinces have imposed moratoria on evictions, ensured child care capacity for essential workers and paused student loan payments. However, there are important differences across provinces that are highlighted by the COVID-19 economic responses.

Smaller provincial governments have much less fiscal capacity and typically higher pre-pandemic debt-to-GDP ratios. So it is no surprise they have largely left the economic response to the federal government, with only minor additional measures.

In some cases, such as Manitoba, ill-advised austerity is already underway with the provincial government seeking budget cuts in the public sector. This points to looming fiscal challenges for provinces as Canada emerges from the current moment with a larger collective debt load. Responding to this debt load with provincial austerity measures would be detrimental for the recovery and could severely undermine essential public services.”