In 1989, the economy entered a recession that steadily worsened the federal deficit. Brian Mulroney’s government introduced Bill C-69 in 1990 to freeze Established Programs Financing (EPF) for social programs for three years, after which the EPF increase would be based on the gross national product minus 3 per cent. This change was an increase from the 2 per cent decrease under the 1986 budget. The following year, Bill C-20 extended the freeze for an additional two years to 1995, at which point the new funding formula would go into effect. The impact of these cuts was immediate. Provinces began to lay off nurses and other health care staff, doctors’ associations were granted small pay raises and had their billings capped, and funding for infrastructure and capital construction was very limited.