The federal government ran a deficit of $5.8 billion over the first six months of its 2019-20 fiscal year compared with a surplus of $1.2 billion in the same period last year.
The Finance Department says the deficit came as program expenses climbed $12.4 billion to $156.9 billion compared with $144.5 billion last year.
The increase in spending was due to increases in major transfers to persons, major transfers to other levels of government and direct program expenses.
Revenues were up $6.1 billion at $164.1 billion compared with $158 billion a year ago, due to increases in personal and corporate income tax revenues, according to the department’s monthly fiscal monitor.
Public debt charges increased by $700 million to nearly $13 billion compared nearly $12.3 billion with a year ago due to higher consumer price index adjustments on real return bonds and a higher average effective interest rate on Government of Canada treasury bills.
The Liberal government forecasted a deficit in last spring’s budget of $19.8 billion for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
The Canadian Press