Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stands with Bill Morneau as he remains Minister of Finance during the swearing-in of the new cabinet at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stands with Bill Morneau as he remains Minister of Finance during the swearing-in of the new cabinet at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Liberals’ fiscal update shows billions more in deficits this year and next

Last time, they projected a $19.8-billion deficit. This time, it’s $26.6 billion

Canada’s federal budget deficit will be billions of dollars deeper than it was supposed to be this year and next, according to the Finance Department.

The figures released Monday morning show that the Liberals’ projected deficit of $19.8 billion for the 12-month period that ends in March is now slated to hit $26.6 billion.

And next year’s deficit is expected to be $28.1 billion, before accounting for promises the Liberals will unveil in their 2020 budget.

The Liberals’ election platform projected four years of deficits of more than $20 billion, including almost $27.4 billion in the upcoming fiscal year that begins in April 2020.

The Finance Department says the deeper deficit is largely driven by changes to how employee pensions and benefits are calculated, but also accounts for a tax break that takes effect on Jan. 1.

Still, the Liberals say their preferred measure of the state of federal finances — which calculates the deficit relative to the size of the economy — will keep improving, if not as quickly as it was supposed to.

Spending is also expected to go up faster on the Canada Child Benefit than the Liberals projected earlier this year, a reflection of pegging the value of payments to inflation and “an increase in the projected number of children eligible.”

The government also says that increased spending announced in the March 2019 budget will be “entirely offset” over the coming years by what the Liberals higher-than-anticipated personal and corporate income-tax revenue.

At the same time, revenues will decline for excise taxes and duties this year — largely from the Liberals’ lifting retaliatory tariffs on American steel and aluminum earlier than they planned — and over the coming years from “lower expected growth in taxable consumption.”

READ MORE: Re-elected Liberals would still run big deficits, despite new taxes

Federal officials are also promising the first phase of a spending and tax review that the Liberals say will result in $1.5 billion in savings starting next fiscal year, which the government has accounted for.

The update provided today from Finance Minister Bill Morneau comes on the heels of a week where the opposition Conservatives accused the government of creating the conditions for a “made-in-Canada recession.”

The government, however, projects that the economy itself will continue to grow over the coming years at roughly the rate calculated in the March budget.

The Finance Department projects growth will be 1.7 per cent this year and 1.6 per cent next year, after weakness late last year and early this year, particularly in the mining and oil-and-gas sectors. The projections would make Canada the second-fastest-growing economy among G7 countries, behind only the United States.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Bernhardt’s freshly planted strawberries. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Hoping for a bumper crop of strawberries

Because our new plot gets a lot of sun, maybe strawberries won’t become consumed by wood bugs

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson Column: Newton’s first law of motion

I could have sworn I told them to help each other get unbuckled and to come inside.

Commercial property owners in Duncan will have an opportunity to beef up their security in 2021 with matching grants from the municipality. (File photo)
City of Duncan to help commercial properties increase security

Municipality to set up matching grant opportunities

John and Jeri Wyatt hope the upcoming North Cowichan public hearing will move things along toward exclusion of the Chemainus River Campground from the Agricultural Land Reserve. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Input sought on Chemainus campground ALR exclusion at public hearing

Matter back on the agenda after a late reprieve in 2019 for Chemainus River Campground owners

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

Most Read