Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland resends to a question after delivering the 2020 fiscal update in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland resends to a question after delivering the 2020 fiscal update in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Finance note says lifting lockdowns, restrictions no sure road to economic recovery

OTTAWA — A newly obtained federal document shows officials believed in late summer that an economic recovery would not magically happen if lockdowns and public health restrictions disappeared.

The internal briefing note says a key to recovery is the level of trust people have in their government’s ability to contain the spread of the virus.

The Canadian Press used the Access to Information Act to obtain the Finance Department briefing note, prepared in early September.

While restrictions and lockdowns are common ways to reduce transmission rates, the note also lays out other options, including increased testing and contact-tracing.

It says countries that have managed to reduce transmission of the virus to very low levels have seen more people visit retailers, use transit and head to workplaces.

Countries that haven’t kept COVID-19 under control, including where restrictions have been loose or non-existent, “have had a much more uneven recovery.”