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Canadian economy shrinks 9% in March

Last Updated Apr 15, 2020 at 10:26 am EDT

A health-care worker is silhouetted as they walk past the British Columbia mobile medical unit set up outside of Abbotsford Regional Hospital in Abbotsford, B.C., on April 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Summary

The International Monetary Fund predicted that the national economy will contract by 6.2 per cent this year.


The House of Commons approved a $73-billion wage subsidy program aimed at helping businesses and workers.


Initial Statistics Canada data shows economic activity collapsed in March, dropping nine per cent — the biggest monthly decline on record.

The coronavirus pandemic brought business to a halt across the country as Canadians were urged to stay at home as a preventative measure.

The preliminary estimate is the first from the agency.

On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund predicted Tuesday that the national economy will contract by 6.2 per cent this year.

Its report said heavy government spending in Canada and elsewhere to help households pay bills and businesses to stay afloat may need to be scaled up if the pandemic persists.

 

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On Saturday, the House of Commons approved a $73-billion wage subsidy program aimed at helping businesses and workers survive the economic ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some six million people had filed claims by Sunday night for a $2,000-a-month emergency benefit for help during the first four-week eligibility period.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the government is willing to send money to provinces that want to provide salary top-ups to help keep essential workers on the job and will soon announce help for people who are falling through the cracks of emergency aid programs.