(BBC) – Canada is projecting a $343bn ($241bn, £200bn) deficit – more than a 1000% increase – for the upcoming fiscal year.
The government has been pumping money into the economy since March, to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
It is the largest deficit, when compared to the country’s GDP, since World War Two.
About a third of the workforce is unemployed, and the economy is expected to shrink by almost 7% this year.
The projections were released Wednesday as part of the government’s fiscal “snapshot”, in lieu of a budget.
“As we measure the cost of helping Canadians, we shouldn’t forget that the cost of doing nothing would have been far more,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a press briefing before the snapshot was unveiled.
In order to pay for the increased spending, the government expects to take on $1.2tr in debt, up from about C$768bn.
The government typically presents an itemised budget every March, but the budget for the 2020/2021 fiscal year was delayed because of the pandemic.
Wednesday’s snapshot did not provide many details on how the money would be spent.
“Uncertainty is inherent in any forecast. However, in the current context, uncertainty is magnified to unprecedented levels. In addition to recovery being driven by public health outcomes, it may not follow historical patterns – crises can have a profound impact on economies that lead to permanent change,” the snapshot noted.
The government did indicate it would expand the wage-subsidy programme, which helps employers top-up wages for workers who have had their hours reduced.