Final report on 2017-18 spending shows $19-billion federal deficit last year

Final report on 2017-18 spending shows $19-billion federal deficit last year
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OTTAWA — The Liberal government’s annual financial report card to be released today will show Ottawa ran a shortfall of $19 billion in fiscal year 2017-18, which ended March 31.

The deficit is slightly smaller than Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s prediction of $19.4 billion in last winter’s budget.

But in May, the Finance Department’s fiscal monitor estimated the federal books would post a deficit of just $16.2 billion for last year.

Beyond 2017-18, Morneau’s February budget also forecasted an $18.1-billion shortfall for this fiscal year — a number that’s expected to gradually shrink to $12.3 billion in 2022-23, including annual $3-billion cushions to offset risks.

The change in the deficit means the federal debt-to-GDP ratio rises to 31.3 per cent from 30.4 per cent, despite Morneau’s repeated focused on reducing the measure, also known as the debt burden.

The Canadian Press

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