Finance Department says federal deficit hit $282.6 billion in February

OTTAWA — The federal government says it ran a budget deficit of $282.6 billion in the 11 months of its fiscal year as revenues plummeted and pandemic aid continued to flow.

The April-February deficit compares to a $7 billion deficit during the same period a year earlier.

The government indicates in its monthly budget monitor that the large deficit reflects the unprecedented shift in economic activity and emergency spending in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Program spending, excluding net actuarial losses, reached almost $515 billion between April and February, an increase of $231.3 billion from $283.6 billion a year earlier.

The federal wage subsidy contributed $71.2 billion to that figure, and benefits for hard-hit workers, families and seniors contributed $96.8 billion.

Meanwhile, revenue was $264.9 billion, down $43.5 billion from the same period a year earlier, due to lower income tax revenue and sales tax, tax deferral measures and a further decline in economic activity.

Public debt charges reached nearly $18.6 billion in the 11 months of the last federal fiscal year, compared to $22 billion for the same period a year earlier, largely reflecting lower inflation and interest rates.

At the end of February, net federal debt was just over $1.1 trillion.

The Liberals’ recent federal budget estimated that the final deficit tally for the 2020-21 fiscal year would be $354.2 billion, rising to $154.7 billion in the fiscal year that began this month. .

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on April 30, 2021.

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