September 19, 2017 8:47 am
Updated: September 19, 2017 10:31 am

Federal deficit smaller than anticipated: Finance department

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau delivers the federal budget in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday, March 22, 2017. The Senate has given final approval to the federal government's budget ??? but with amendments that would delete the so-called escalator tax on booze.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
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OTTAWA – The federal Finance Department says the government ran a smaller deficit than it was expecting in the spring budget.

Ottawa ended its 2016-17 fiscal year with a deficit of $17.8 billion.

That compared with a $23-billion deficit that was forecast in the spring budget.

READ MORE: Improving economy won’t knock Liberals from deficit path, says Morneau

Government revenues were down $2 billion or 0.7 per cent compared with the previous year due to a drop in personal income tax revenue, employment insurance premium revenue and other revenues, offset in part by an increase in GST revenue.

FEDERAL BUDGETARY BALANCE

Program spending rose by $16.2 billion or 6 per cent due to increases in major transfers to individuals, major transfers to other levels of government and other transfer payments. Public debt charges were down $1.3 billion or 5.2 per cent due to lower interest rates.

The federal debt was $631.9 billion at March 31, 2017, up from $616 billion a year earlier.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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