Highlights from Tuesday’s economic statement by Finance Minister Bill Morneau

OTTAWA – Some highlights from Tuesday’s economic statement, delivered in the House of Commons by federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau:

— The deficit for 2016-17 is expected to be $25.1 billion, but that does not include a rainy day fund. In last spring’s budget, the government projected a $29.4-billion deficit, but that number included a $6-billion reserve.

— The deficit is gradually expected to shrink over the coming five years to $14.6-billion in 2021-2022, not including any provisions set aside for a rainy day. There is no projection to balance the budget.

— Over five years, the government will add a total of $31.8-billion more to deficits than was expected in the last budget, mostly because of changes to expectations for the economy.

— The debt burden — the size of the federal debt as a percentage of gross domestic product — will slowly slide to 30.4 per cent in 2021-22 from 31.8 per cent in 2016-17.

— The government will set up a Canada Infrastructure Bank with seed capital of $35-billion. Of that, $15-billion will be taken from the $60-billion in existing funds set aside for infrastructure and another $20-billion will be financed and booked as equity or debt so as not to affect the government’s bottom line.

—The government will adopt a global skills strategy that will speed up work permits and visas for foreign workers.

— The government will create a new Invest in Canada Hub to attract foreign investment. It will also relax foreign investment restrictions somewhat — revising national security rules and moving the threshold for reviewing foreign takeovers to $1-billion starting in 2017, two years ahead of schedule.

— The parliamentary budget officer will become accountable only to Parliament, with all the privileges that entails, rather than the Library of Parliament.

— The chief statistician will be granted more independence.