OTTAWA – Canada’s budget deficit from April to January widened to C$268.18 billion ($213.35 billion) from a deficit of C$10.56 billion in the year-ago period, on massive COVID-19 pandemic aid spending, the finance ministry said on Friday.
“The unprecedented shift in the government’s financial results reflects the severe deterioration in the economic situation and temporary measures implemented … as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak during this period,” it said in a statement.
Year-to-date revenues dropped by 14.7% reflecting a broad-based decline including lower tax revenues. Year-to-date program expenses, meanwhile, jumped 83.9% largely due to emergency transfers to individuals, businesses and the provinces.
On a monthly basis, Canada posted a deficit of C$20.01 billion in January 2021, compared to the C$415 million surplus recorded in January 2020.
Monthly revenues were down 7.4% on a decline in other revenues, which include Crown corporation profits and returns on investments among other things. Program expenses climbed 65.5%, again on COVID-19 response measures.
($1 = 1.2570 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Julie Gordon, Reuters Ottawa Bureau, 343-961-4020; Editing by Steve Scherer email@example.com)