The federal fiscal forecast

We’ll be paying federal sales taxes on our digital services, as part of the Trudeau government’s plans to raise money to pay for pandemic expenses.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says digital services that don’t have a physical presence in Canada, like Netflix, compete unfairly with Canadian companies, and deprive the government of resources that could be used to better the lives of everyone.

The move is part of a sweeping proposal, in her financial update, to provide as much as 100-billion dollars over the next three years to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Included in the update are the first steps towards creating a national child care strategy.

Women have been most affected by the need to stay home from work to care for children during the pandemic.

Freeland notes that the budget deficit could be as high as 400-billion dollars this year, depending on the course the coronavirus takes.

She adds it won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2025.


Extra funding for parents

The provincial government is offering further financial assistance to families with children in school.

The on-line portal, “Support for Learners,” is now open to apply for the additional funds.

Parents can claim 200 dollars per child, for children up to the age of 12.

The age limit is expanded to 21 for children with special needs.

The deadline for applications is January 15th.

Premier Doug Ford says parents are the unsung heroes of the pandemic….and the government wants to make sure their extra expenses are covered.


COVID-19 testing and schools

The New Democrats are urging the Ford government to launch widespread COVID-19 testing at schools, especially those in areas hard-hit by the coronavirus.

The call comes after a school in a Toronto suburb found 19 new cases among those who were not showing any symptoms.

However, Education Minister Stephen Lecce notes that the positivity rate within the school is far lower than it has been in the surrounding community.

He says it shows that the layers of protection in our school system are working.


Ford wants answers on vaccines

Premier Doug Ford plans to speak with major pharmaceutical firms, in hopes of getting more information on when their COVID-19 vaccines might be coming to Ontario.

Ford says the government needs answers, if it’s to properly prepare for a massive immunization program.

He says they can’t wait for a call that tells them the vaccines will be arriving the next day.

So far, the federal government has optioned more than 400-million doses of vaccines from various companies.

But the first are not expected to arrive until early in the new year.

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