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Parliamentary Budget Officer aims to measure stimulus impact

0 48 Economic

by Peter Kenter last update:Jul 15, 2014

While few overall figures exist for the economic impact of government infrastructure stimulus spending in Canada, the independent Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer has taken a crack at it.

 

CanaData Construction Industry Forecasts Conference

 

correspondent

TORONTO

While few overall figures exist for the economic impact of government infrastructure stimulus spending in Canada, the independent Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer has taken a crack at it.

The office is attempting to answer a number of questions about the program that cost the federal government about $3.66 billion to date, its share of about $12 million in expenditures after municipal and provincial contributions, the annual CanaData conference in Toronto Sept. 23 was told.

“When Parliament approves a bunch of money to be spent, when does it get into the economy, does it create jobs and what are the risks and benefits for the long term,” asks Peter Weltman, financial advisor-analyst on the office’s revenue analysis team.

“While we’re generally finding that people were OK with the program, we want to survey the industry to quantify actual jobs and business benefit. Every province got its per capita share of the funds — whether they needed it or not. I personally think it’s going to be a regional story with impacts greater in some provinces than others. ”

Tracking the nearly 4,000 projects in the infrastructure program, Weltman says that a significant number of them are unlikely to be substantially completed by the federal government’s March 11, 2011 deadline.

“My forecast is that if the government is serious about the deadline, $100 to $200 million will not be paid out. But we’re hearing that there may be ways to negotiate for such factors as the floods in Saskatchewan.”

Will there be a second round of infrastructure stimulus spending?

“By no means do people believe we’re on a rocket to recovery,” says Weltman. “It may not be a bad thing to see this program extended, but that’s not our call.”

 

last update:Jul 15, 2014

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