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This Just In: Canada’s Fall Economic Statement
Last week, the federal government provided a bit of a ‘mini-budget’ in its Fall Economic Statement, updating us on how much the government has spent on COVID relief and what it plans to do going forward.
For some perspective, in December 2019, the total deficit was $28.1 billion, so we’re up over 1000%.
That’s a metric boatload of debt, but we’ve still got the best balance sheet among our G7 peers.
Economists say we can absorb this, and measure our ability to take on debt using the debt-to-GDP ratio. Our debt to GDP ratio is currently 49% and we don’t need to be overly worried about our economy completely falling apart until we reach 90%.
However, many are calling for spending to be reigned in and for the government to chart a path to a balanced budget before things spin out of control.
The Fall Economic Statement also provided some insight on some of the key priorities and initiatives for the government. There’s 237 pages of detail in case you need some light bedtime reading, but we’ve boiled it down to the promises you really need to know about:
For Economic Recovery:
- $100 billion in short term fiscal stimulus to kick start the economy (check out our Fiscal Policy 101 for a quick refresher)
- $400 million for work from home expenses (file for this when you do your taxes this coming year!)
- Fiscal Stabilization Program, which dictates how much a province could get from the federal government, increased from $60 to $170 billion
- No more GST or HST on face masks and face shields
For the Youths:
- $447.5 million to create an extra 40,000 summer job placements for young people
- $575.3 million in the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy to create 45,300 jobs for young people
- The federal portion of student/apprenticeship debt will be interest free for 2021-22
- Middle and low income families will get up to $1,200 for each child under age six
- A new federal secretariat to work on a Canada-wide early learning and child care system
Some other goodies:
- $1 billion to keep long-term care homes safe
- Body cameras for front-line RCMP officers
- $150 million to increase the number of charging stations for zero-emissions vehicles
- Grants of up to $5,000 to improve the energy efficiency of your home
- An overhaul of how foreign digital companies (think Amazon, Airbnb, etc.) are taxed
Tesla shares surge, counting down the days until joining the S&P 500
Shares in Tesla surged by 46% in November following an announcement that the company would be joining the S&P 500 (a stock market index that measures the performance of the 500 largest companies in the United States) in December. Tesla stocks are up nearly 580% this year, making it the most valuable auto company in the world.
The electric vehicle giant’s July quarterly profits demonstrated their profitability, which had previously been a major hurdle. With a current stock market value of almost $550 billion (which will account for just over 1% of the S&P 500), Tesla will now be among the most valuable companies ever added to the S&P 500.
That being said, a fifth of Tesla’s shares are owned by CEO Elon Musk, which will slightly diminish Tesla’s influence within the S&P as the index is weighted by the amount of companies shares that are actually available in the stock market. An announcement will be made on December 11th of which company Tesla will replace in the index.
Increasing international demand for electric and low-emission vehicles has been a major driver of Tesla’s current success. Recently, the European Union announced that it will aim to have at least 30 million zero emission vehicles on the road by 2030. Also in November, Quebec’s Premier announced a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, which will put 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road in Quebec.
Despite the surge in stock value, Elon Musk has warned Tesla employees not to overspend and is being considerate about the company’s future profitability. In a statement issued to employees, Musk warned that, “Investors are giving us a lot of credit for future profitability but if, at any point, they conclude that’s not going to happen, our stock will immediately get crushed like a souffle under a sledgehammer!”