Canadian unemployment could hit 15 per cent amid coronavirus pandemic, deficit to $113B

The coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe could send Canadian unemployment rates soaring to 15 per cent by the end of the year, a new forecast by the parliamentary budget watchdog suggests.

At the same time, the federal deficit could spike to $113 billion by the next fiscal year.

The current federal deficit sits at roughly $26.6 billion while the national unemployment rate in February was 5.6 per cent.

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Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux published a forecast report on Friday looking at what the economic and fiscal impacts could be on Canada of the coronavirus pandemic.

In it, Giroux cautioned that the forecast is built around a number of assumptions including that current isolation and social distancing measures will stay in place until August.

But he noted that the office will continue to update projections as the situation evolves.

“We stress that this scenario is not a forecast of the most likely outcome,” he wrote.

“It is an illustrative scenario of one possible outcome.”

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