Trudeau tree plan will cost double what promised, PBO says

The election promise from Justin Trudeau to plant two billion trees by 2030 will cost almost double what promised, according to the Parliamentary Budget Office.

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The parliamentary budget office says a pledge by the Trudeau Liberals to plant two billion trees could cost almost double what the government says.

The tree-planting spree, spread over a decade, is supposed to start in the spring and cost $3.16 billion over that time, based on federal estimates.

Getting to the 2030 target means planting about 200 million trees a year more than usual.

The spending watchdog's analysis suggests getting there is also going to require more money, about $2.78 billion more, bringing the overall cost closer to $5.94 billion.

The budget officer's report is based on a similar program the Ontario government ran, using the average per-tree cost and adjusting for inflation over the 10-year planting period.

The budget office also estimates in a separate report that a pandemic loan program for small businesses will cost the government nearly $20.3 billion, more than the $14.6 billion estimated in the fall economic statement.

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