New report shows how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting Winnipeg’s economy

By | April 21, 2020

WINNIPEG — A new report out of the City of Winnipeg is analyzing the potential economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Coun. Scott Gillingham, chair of the standing policy committee on finance, the city has also developed a ‘Crisis Cash Flow Management Plan.”

“The Plan is informed by economic information, analysis and projections and may need to be adjusted in the future as the financial impact of the pandemic is constantly evolving,” he said in a news release.

In its analysis, the city used economic markers to estimate the economic impact and how it will affect unemployment and gross domestic product (GDP).

The city said it’s anticipating a range of possible economic outcomes.

“The economic landscape is constantly changing during the pandemic and the data in the analysis may change in the coming weeks and months,” said Tyler Markowsky, city economist, in a statement. 

“In our analysis, we found that the financial impact of COVID-19 on Winnipeg is real and likely quite substantial. Once economic data is released from Statistics Canada and other official outlets, we can begin to assess the various impacts COVID-19 has had on Winnipeg’s economy in greater detail.”

The city noted its financial future is well-planned due to the recent passage of the 2020-23 multi-year balanced budget.

But for the short term, the Financial Stabilization Reserve is giving the public service the funds to provide primary city services while strategies are being created to manage reduced revenues, which the city said is about $12 million per month.

For the time being, the city noted, municipal governments are being advised to sustain employment and work with other levels of government to coordinate the re-opening of closed sectors. As for long-term solutions, the city said capital investment programs are an important part of economic recovery.

“The Crisis Cash Flow Management Plan maintains the City’s recently adopted 2020 capital program which is set to invest $369 million in important capital projects,” said Gillingham in a statement. 

“This investment will assist to stimulate the struggling local economy and is estimated to provide over 2,300 jobs. To make significant cuts to the 2020 capital budget would further exacerbate the challenges our local economy is currently facing.”

The analysis can be found online and will be presented to the standing policy committee on finance on April 27. 

The city will be holding a news conference on its cash flow plan at 3 p.m. on Tuesday. CTV News Winnipeg will be live streaming the event.

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