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Ottawa is now $9.3 billion in the red; that’s compared to a $600 million surplus last year


OTTAWA — The federal government ran a budgetary deficit of $1.5 billion in October as increases in spending on programs outpaced increases in tax revenues.

The Finance Department’s monthly fiscal monitor also says the federal government has a deficit of $9.3 billion since the 2016-17 fiscal year started in April.

That figure for the April-to-October period is a swing from the $600 million surplus the Finance Department reported during the same stretch in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The monthly check on government spending shows that revenues rose by 11.3 per cent, or $2.5 billion, compared to the same time last year, with more money coming in from personal income, corporate and excise taxes.

Personal income tax revenue rose by 7.6 per cent, corporate tax revenue rose by 16 per cent and GST revenues rose by $600 million.

Employment insurance premium revenues were up as well by $18 million, or 1.5 per cent, from the period last year.

Federal program expenses were up 8.2 per cent, or $12 billion, between April and October compared to the same period last year, largely a result of jumps in major transfers to people — including child, senior and employment insurance benefits — and spending at departments like National Defence.

Public debt charges were down by about $100 million, or 3.1 per cent, compared to October 2016 because of lower interest rates.




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