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Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on Thursday said the pricey Covid relief checks for workers and businesses will be scaled back. Programs that were due to lapse this week are being extended until May and repurposed to target the hardest-hit industries such as tourism.
Payouts such as wage and rent subsidies have cost CAD289 billion so far, and the extension will cost CAD7.4 billion, Freeland told reporters in Toronto. "Our economy is rebounding and we are winning the fight against Covid," she said, but the recovery remains "uneven." Reduced fiscal stimulus may become a factor for the Bank of Canada, which has said conditions to raise interest rates should be in place in the second half of next year as the economy returns to normal.