Government deficit hits $6.7B in March

After three straight months of monthly surpluses, the federal government spent $6.7 billion more than it took in in March, new data from the Department of Finance showed Friday.
The federal government deficit is on track to get smaller this year. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

After three straight months of monthly surpluses, the federal government spent $6.7 billion more than it took in in March, new data from the Department of Finance showed Friday.

The $6.7 billion deficit is smaller than the $8 billion deficit Ottawa posted the same month a year ago. But it reverses the trend of monthly surpluses seen between December and February.

For the fiscal year as a whole, the federal government remains on track to beat its own projection of a $16.6 billion shortfall. 

As it stands, early indications are that Ottawa racked up a $12.1 billion deficit this past year — more than $4 billion less than forecast. But that figure may change once various accounting adjustments are made.

For comparison purposes, Ottawa posted an $18.7 billion deficit in the 2012-2013 fiscal year that ended in March 2013.

Program expenses went up by $6.8 billion, an increase of 2.8 per cent. But that was more than offset by revenues that came in $13.2 billion or 5.2 per cent higher.