The federal deficit — the amount by which government spending outstripped revenue — rose by $300 million in January, the Finance Department said Friday.
That brought the shortfall for the first 10 months of fiscal 2009-10 to $39.6 billion.
Officials said January's deficit growth was smaller than others in recent months because of a $1.7-billion increase in corporate tax revenue due to year-end settlements.
The deficit rose by $3.1 billion in December and by $4.4 billion in November.
In its budget earlier this month, the Conservative government projected a full-year deficit of $53.8 billion, little changed from September projections of about $56 billion.
At the same time, expenses continue to mount, up $1.8 billion or 10.8 per cent, reflecting higher program costs for programs like employment insurance because of the weak economy.
Ottawa was running a $500-million surplus at this time last year and had an almost $10-billion surplus two years ago.
Overall, roughly $17 billion of this year's accumulated shortfall is due to measures under the federal government's economic stimulus plan, including tax cuts, expanded EI benefits and the auto-sector bailout.
EI payouts alone have increased by $5.1 billion or 41.4 per cent in the first 10 months of the fiscal year.
At the same time, Ottawa has lost $17.7 billion in revenues compared with the previous year, with corporate tax receipts accounting for about one-third of the drop-off.
An earlier version of this story said Ottawa had lost $178.7 billion in revenues compared with the previous year. The correct figure is $17.7 billion.Mar 26, 2010 2:28 AM ET