Newfoundland and Labrador is projecting a $2.1-billion deficit for fiscal 2020-21 – an increase of $1.35 billion from last year’s budget.
The grim figure was presented in a fiscal update delivered today by Finance Minister Tom Osborne, ahead of a budget expected in September.
Osborne says the soaring deficit is the result of a significant drop in world oil prices and costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The finance minister says expenses for the fiscal year will jump by $720 million, including an increase of $261 million in health care, $90 million of which is related to the pandemic.
A $200-million contingency fund that was approved in March has also contributed to rising expenses, with $118 million spent so far.
Offshore oil revenue is projected to decrease by $631 million, mainly due to a $560-million drop in royalties.