The Fiscal Monitor
A publication of the Department of Finance

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December 2015: budgetary surplus of $2.2 billion

There was a budgetary surplus of $2.2 billion in December 2015, compared to a surplus of $2.4 billion in December 2014. Revenues increased by $31 million, or 0.1 per cent. Program expenses increased by $0.5 billion, or 2.6 per cent, reflecting increases in major transfers to persons and other levels of government, offset in part by a decrease in direct program expenses. Public debt charges decreased by $0.2 billion, or 10.7 per cent.

April to December 2015: budgetary surplus of $3.2 billion

For the April to December 2015 period of the 2015–16 fiscal year, the Government posted a budgetary surplus of $3.2 billion, compared to a deficit of $0.9 billion reported in the same period of 2014–15. Revenues were up $14.2 billion, or 7.2 per cent, reflecting increases in all revenue sources. Program expenses were up $11.2 billion, or 6.3 per cent, reflecting increases in all major categories of program spending. Public debt charges were down $1.1 billion, or 5.3 per cent, largely reflecting lower average effective interest rates on Government of Canada bonds and treasury bills.

December 2015

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There was a budgetary surplus of $2.2 billion in December 2015, compared to a surplus of $2.4 billion in December 2014.

Revenues in December 2015 totalled $24.9 billion, up $31 million, or 0.1 per cent, from December 2014.

  • Personal income tax revenues were up $1.7 billion, or 14.0 per cent. This strong growth reflects, in part, timing issues as well as an accrual adjustment in December 2015 to incorporate updated information for the year as a whole.   
  • Corporate income tax revenues were down $0.4 billion, or 10.6 per cent.
  • Non-resident income tax revenues were down $0.1 billion, or 13.4 per cent.
  • Excise taxes and duties were down $0.1 billion, or 2.7 per cent. Within this category, Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenues decreased by $0.2 billion, energy taxes increased by $30 million, customs import duties increased by $29 million, and other excise taxes and duties increased by $17 million.
  • Employment Insurance (EI) premium revenues were up $32 million, or 3.4 per cent. 
  • Other revenues, consisting of net profits from enterprise Crown corporations, revenues of consolidated Crown corporations, revenues from sales of goods and services, returns on investments, net foreign exchange revenues and miscellaneous revenues, decreased by $1.1 billion, or 33.2 per cent, largely reflecting the gain realized in December 2014 on the transfer to Ontario of the province’s one-third portion of the Government’s holdings of General Motors common shares.    

Program expenses in December 2015 were $20.7 billion, up $0.5 billion, or 2.6 per cent, from December 2014. 

  • Major transfers to persons, consisting of elderly, EI and children’s benefits, increased by $0.5 billion, or 8.5 per cent. Elderly and EI benefits each increased by $0.1 billion. Children’s benefits, which consist of the Canada Child Tax Benefit and the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB), increased by $0.4 billion, or 33.5 per cent, due mainly to the enhancement and expansion of the UCCB effective January 2015.   
  • Major transfers to other levels of government consist of federal transfers in support of health and other social programs (primarily the Canada Health Transfer and the Canada Social Transfer), fiscal arrangements and other transfers (Equalization, transfers to the territories, as well as a number of smaller transfer programs), transfers to provinces on behalf of Canada’s cities and communities, and the Quebec Abatement. Major transfers to other levels of government increased by $0.4 billion, or 7.9 per cent, largely reflecting legislated growth in the Canada Health Transfer, the Canada Social Transfer, Equalization transfers and transfers to the territories, as well as an increase in transfers to Canada’s cities and communities, reflecting year-over-year timing differences.
  • Direct program expenses include transfer payments to individuals and organizations not included in major transfers to persons and other levels of government, and other direct program expenses, which consist of the operating expenses of National Defence, other departments and agencies, and expenses of Crown corporations. Direct program expenses were down $0.4 billion, or 4.7 per cent. Within direct program expenses:
    • Transfer payments decreased by $1.1 billion, or 45.2 per cent, largely reflecting the accelerated repayment of contributions by Pratt & Whitney Canada in December 2015.
    • Other direct program expenses increased by $0.7 billion, or 10.2 per cent, reflecting increases in Crown corporation expenses and operating expenses of departments and agencies.

Public debt charges decreased by $0.2 billion, or 10.7 per cent, reflecting a lower average effective interest rate on the stock of interest-bearing debt.

April to December 2015

For the April to December 2015 period of the 2015–16 fiscal year, there was a budgetary surplus of $3.2 billion, compared to a deficit of $0.9 billion reported during the same period of 2014–15.

Revenues increased by $14.2 billion, or 7.2 per cent, to $212.1 billion.

  • Personal income tax revenues were up $5.5 billion, or 5.6 per cent. 
  • Corporate income tax revenues were up $4.3 billion, or 17.7 per cent, largely reflecting assessments and reassessments for prior tax years as well as the timing of current-year tax instalments. Corporations are generally required to remit monthly instalment payments for the current year based on either their previous year’s actual tax liability or their current year’s projected tax liability. This practice can introduce a lag in the impact of economic events on monthly corporate income tax revenues, which will only unwind near the end of the fiscal year.
  • Non-resident income tax revenues were up $0.2 billion, or 4.8 per cent. 
  • Excise taxes and duties were up $2.6 billion, or 7.2 per cent. GST revenues increased by $1.7 billion, or 7.1 per cent, energy taxes by $0.2 billion, customs import duties by $0.6 billion, and other excise taxes and duties by $0.1 billion. 
  • EI premium revenues were up $0.5 billion, or 3.6 per cent, reflecting growth in earnings.
  • Other revenues were up $1.1 billion, or 5.3 per cent, due mainly to increased revenues from Crown corporations.

For the April to December 2015 period, program expenses were $189.0 billion, up $11.2 billion, or 6.3 per cent, from the same period the previous year. 

  • Major transfers to persons were up $6.0 billion, or 10.8 per cent. Elderly benefits increased by $1.3 billion, or 4.0 per cent, reflecting growth in the elderly population and changes in consumer prices, to which benefits are fully indexed. EI benefit payments increased by $1.0 billion, or 7.5 per cent, and children’s benefits were up $3.7 billion, or 37.8 per cent, largely reflecting increased benefits related to the enhancement and expansion of the UCCB.  
  • Major transfers to other levels of government were up $1.9 billion, or 4.1 per cent, largely reflecting legislated growth in the Canada Health Transfer, the Canada Social Transfer, Equalization transfers and transfers to the territories.  
  • Direct program expenses were up $3.3 billion, or 4.4 per cent. Within direct program expenses:
    • Transfer payments decreased by $1.0 billion, or 4.4 per cent, largely reflecting the accelerated repayment of contributions by Pratt & Whitney Canada.
    • Other direct program expenses increased by $4.3 billion, or 8.1 per cent, due in large part to an increase in Crown corporation expenses and an increase in government pension and benefit costs based on the Government’s latest actuarial valuations.

Public debt charges decreased by $1.1 billion, or 5.3 per cent, largely reflecting lower average effective interest rates on Government of Canada bonds and treasury bills.

 
Revenues and expenses (April to December 2015)
Revenues and expenses (April to December 2015) - For details, refer to preceding paragraphs.
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.

Financial requirement of $17.7 billion for April to December 2015

The budgetary balance is presented on an accrual basis of accounting, recording government revenues and expenses when they are earned or incurred, regardless of when the cash is received or paid. In contrast, the financial source/requirement measures the difference between cash coming in to the Government and cash going out. This measure is affected not only by changes in the budgetary balance but also by the cash source/requirement resulting from the Government’s investing activities through its acquisition of capital assets and its loans, financial investments and advances, as well as from other activities, including payment of accounts payable and collection of accounts receivable, foreign exchange activities, and the amortization of its tangible capital assets. The difference between the budgetary balance and financial source/requirement is recorded in non-budgetary transactions.

With a budgetary surplus of $3.2 billion and a financial requirement of $20.9 billion from non-budgetary transactions, there was a financial requirement of $17.7 billion for the April to December 2015 period, compared to a financial source of $0.7 billion for the same period the previous year.

Net financing activities up $28.7 billion

The Government financed this financial requirement of $17.7 billion and increased cash balances by $11.0 billion by increasing unmatured debt by $28.7 billion. The increase in unmatured debt was achieved primarily through the issuance of marketable bonds and treasury bills.

The level of cash balances varies from month to month based on a number of factors including periodic large debt maturities, which can be quite volatile on a monthly basis. Cash balances at the end of December 2015 stood at $39.0 billion, up $10.8 billion from their level at the end of December 2014. 

 
Table 1
Summary statement of transactions
$ millions
  December April to December
 

  2014 2015 2014–15 2015–16
Budgetary transactions        
  Revenues 24,829 24,860 197,867 212,064
  Expenses
    Program expenses -20,213 -20,732 -177,827 -189,033
    Public debt charges -2,190 -1,956 -20,942 -19,833
 

  Budgetary balance (deficit/surplus) 2,426 2,172 -902 3,198
Non-budgetary transactions -2,056 -7,171 1,600 -20,909
 

Financial source/requirement 370 -4,999 698 -17,711
Net change in financing activities -5,996 -3,503 1,362 28,714
 

Net change in cash balances -5,626 -8,502 2,060 11,003
Cash balance at end of period 28,133 38,953
Note: Positive numbers indicate a net source of funds. Negative numbers indicate a net requirement for funds.
 
Table 2
Revenues
  December   April to December  
 
 
 
  2014
($ millions)
2015
($ millions)
Change
(%)
2014–15
($ millions)
2015–16
($ millions)
Change
(%)
Tax revenues            
  Income taxes            
    Personal income tax 12,141 13,839 14.0 97,789 103,299 5.6
    Corporate income tax 3,870 3,460 -10.6 24,156 28,423 17.7
    Non-resident income tax 589 510 -13.4 4,236 4,438 4.8
 

    Total income tax 16,600 17,809 7.3 126,181 136,160 7.9
  Excise taxes and duties
    Goods and Services Tax 2,618 2,437 -6.9 24,160 25,876 7.1
    Energy taxes 468 498 6.4 4,150 4,301 3.6
    Customs import duties 359 388 8.1 3,418 4,007 17.2
    Other excise taxes and duties 515 532 3.3 4,509 4,645 3.0
 

    Total excise taxes and duties 3,960 3,855 -2.7 36,237 38,829 7.2
 

  Total tax revenues 20,560 21,664 5.4 162,418 174,989 7.7
Employment Insurance premiums 943 975 3.4 14,502 15,021 3.6
Other revenues 3,326 2,221 -33.2 20,947 22,054 5.3
 

Total revenues 24,829 24,860 0.1 197,867 212,064 7.2
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.
 
Table 3
Expenses
  December   April to December  
 
 
 
  2014
($ millions)
2015
($ millions)
Change
(%)
2014–15
($ millions)
2015–16
($ millions)
Change
(%)
Major transfers to persons            
  Elderly benefits 3,700 3,754 1.5 32,537 33,841 4.0
  Employment Insurance benefits 1,470 1,579 7.4 12,892 13,853 7.5
  Children's benefits 1,103 1,472 33.5 9,758 13,449 37.8
 

  Total 6,273 6,805 8.5 55,187 61,143 10.8
Major transfers to other levels
  of government
  Support for health and other
    social programs
    Canada Health Transfer 2,676 2,836 6.0 24,086 25,518 5.9
    Canada Social Transfer 1,048 1,080 3.1 9,436 9,719 3.0
 

    Total 3,724 3,916 5.2 33,522 35,237 5.1
  Fiscal arrangements and other transfers1 1,700 1,687 -0.8 15,437 15,859 2.7
  Canada's cities and communities 54 285 427.8 1,903 1,882 -1.1
  Quebec Abatement -389 -396 1.8 -3,383 -3,562 5.3
 

  Total 5,089 5,492 7.9 47,479 49,416 4.1
Direct program expenses
  Transfer payments
    Aboriginal Affairs and
      Northern Development
435 450 3.4 4,479 4,674 4.4
    Agriculture and Agri-Food 107 45 -57.9 668 847 26.8
    Employment and Social Development 384 365 -4.9 3,973 3,968 -0.1
    Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development 248 361 45.6 1,608 2,007 24.8
    Health 256 245 -4.3 2,232 2,263 1.4
    Industry 234 -968 -513.7 1,670 584 -65.0
    Other1 718 808 12.5 7,435 6,743 -9.3
 

    Total 2,382 1,306 -45.2 22,065 21,086 -4.4
  Other direct program expenses
    Crown corporations 634 968 52.7 5,486 6,417 17.0
    National Defence 1,872 2,090 11.6 15,075 16,855 11.8
    All other departments
      and agencies
3,963 4,071 2.7 32,535 34,116 4.9
 

    Total other direct program expenses 6,469 7,129 10.2 53,096 57,388 8.1
 

  Total direct program expenses 8,851 8,435 -4.7 75,161 78,474 4.4
 

Total program expenses 20,213 20,732 2.6 177,827 189,033 6.3
Public debt charges 2,190 1,956 -10.7 20,942 19,833 -5.3
 

Total expenses 22,403 22,688 1.3 198,769 208,866 5.1

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.
1 Comparative figures have been reclassified to conform to the presentation in the 2014-15 Consolidated Financial Statements of the Government of Canada.

 
Table 4
The budgetary balance and financial source/requirement
$ millions
  December April to December
 

  2014 2015 2014–15 2015–16
Budgetary balance (deficit/surplus) 2,426 2,172 -902 3,198
Non-budgetary transactions
  Capital investment activities -355 -350 -2,613 -3,032
  Other investing activities 586 -1,804 3,775 -6,166
  Pension and other accounts 345 311 1,484 3,477
  Other activities    
    Accounts payable, receivables, accruals and allowances -1,073 95 -2,216 -6,151
    Foreign exchange activities -1,913 -5,741 -1,774 -12,263
    Amortization of tangible capital assets 354 318 2,944 3,226
 

    Total other activities -2,632 -5,328 -1,046 -15,188
 

  Total non-budgetary transactions -2,056 -7,171 1,600 -20,909
 

Financial source/requirement 370 -4,999 698 -17,711
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.
 
Table 5
Financial source/requirement and net financing activities
$ millions
  December April to December
 

  2014 2015 2014–15 2015–16
Financial source/requirement 370 -4,999 698 -17,711
Net increase (+)/decrease (-) in financing activities
  Unmatured debt transactions
    Canadian currency borrowings
      Marketable bonds -6,527 -5,397 9,249 8,087
      Treasury bills -600 -1,900 -6,500 11,600
      Retail debt 150 427 -638 -617
      Other 0 0 0 0
 

      Total -6,977 -6,870 2,111 19,070
    Foreign currency borrowings 542 461 -1,524 3,416
 

    Total -6,435 -6,409 587 22,486
    Cross-currency swap revaluation 394 2,823 863 5,802
    Unamortized discounts and premiums on market debt 84 129 279 616
    Obligations related to capital leases and other unmatured debt -39 -46 -367 -190
 

  Net change in financing activities -5,996 -3,503 1,362 28,714
Change in cash balance -5,626 -8,502 2,060 11,003
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.
 
Table 6
Condensed statement of assets and liabilities
$ millions
March 31,
2015
December 31,
2015
Change
Liabilities
   Accounts payable and accrued liabilities 123,631 116,167 -7,464
   Interest-bearing debt
      Unmatured debt
         Payable in Canadian currency
            Marketable bonds 487,881 495,968 8,087
            Treasury bills 135,692 147,292 11,600
            Retail debt 5,660 5,043 -617
 
            Subtotal 629,233 648,303 19,070
      Payable in foreign currencies 20,267 23,683 3,416
      Cross-currency swap revaluation 6,669 12,471 5,802
      Unamortized discounts and premiums on market debt 4,296 4,912 616
      Obligations related to capital leases and other unmatured debt 4,715 4,525 -190
 
      Total unmatured debt 665,180 693,894 28,714
     Pension and other liabilities  
         Public sector pensions 152,664 152,237 -427
         Other employee and veteran future benefits 76,140 80,427 4,287
         Other liabilities 6,002 5,619 -383
 
         Total pension and other liabilities 234,806 238,283 3,477
 
      Total interest-bearing debt 899,986 932,177 32,191
 
   Total liabilities 1,023,617 1,048,344 24,727
Financial assets
   Cash and accounts receivable 136,696 146,386 9,690
   Foreign exchange accounts 85,018 97,281 12,263
   Loans, investments, and advances (net of allowances)1 113,681 118,348 4,667
   Public sector pension assets 1,263 1,263 0
 
   Total financial assets 336,658 363,278 26,620
 
Net debt 686,959 685,066 -1,893
Non-financial assets 74,629 74,435 -194
 
Federal debt (accumulated deficit) 612,330 610,631 -1,699
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.
1 December 31, 2015 amount includes $1.5 billion in other comprehensive losses from enterprise Crown corporations and other government business enterprises for the April to December 2015 period.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, changes in financial results are presented on a year-over-year basis.

For inquiries about this publication, contact Glenn Purves at 613-369-5655.

February 2016