The Canadian flag, in front of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on October 2, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

So far this year, federal program expenses up $10.9B compared to 2018-19

Finance department says government ran $5.2-billion deficit over first five months of current fiscal

A new report shows the federal government ran a deficit of $5.2 billion over the first five months of its current fiscal year following a $10.9-billion jump in program expenses compared with a year earlier.

The preliminary numbers from the Finance Department says the higher program spending represents a year-over-year increase of 9.1 per cent.

In comparison, the federal fiscal monitor says the government posted a $2.6-billion surplus during the same April-to-August period last year.

The higher spending was largely due to a $6.2-billion — or 12.3 per cent — increase in direct program expenses as well as, to a lesser degree, larger transfers to individuals and other levels of government.

Year-over-year, public debt charges increased by $700 million — or 7.2 per cent.

RELATED: Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Government revenues were up $3.9 billion — or 2.9 per cent — from the same period last year, an increase mostly due to higher personal income tax revenues and includes $18 million for the federal portion of cannabis taxes.

The Liberal government forecasted a deficit in last spring’s budget of $19.8 billion for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

The Canadian Press

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