The Fiscal Monitor
A publication of the Department of Finance

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The Fiscal Monitor provides an overview of monthly and year-to-date financial results for the Government of Canada. It is prepared in accordance with the same accounting policies used in the annual audited financial statements of the Government of Canada. Summary financial results reported in The Fiscal Monitor are based on financial transactions recorded in the Accounts of Canada, maintained by the Receiver General for Canada. 

Highlights

February 2016: budgetary surplus of $3.2 billion

There was a budgetary surplus of $3.2 billion in February 2016, down $1.4 billion from the budgetary surplus reported for February 2015. Revenues increased by $7 million. Program expenses increased by $1.6 billion, or 7.7 per cent, reflecting increases in major transfers to persons and other levels of government and direct program expenses. Public debt charges decreased by $0.1 billion, or 6.8 per cent, largely reflecting a lower average effective interest rate on the stock of interest-bearing debt.  

April 2015 to February 2016: budgetary surplus of $7.5 billion

For the April to February period of the 2015–16 fiscal year, the Government posted a budgetary surplus of $7.5 billion, compared to a surplus of $5.9 billion reported for the same period of 2014–15. Revenues were up $15.6 billion, or 6.2 per cent, reflecting increases in all revenue streams. Program expenses were up $15.3 billion, or 7.0 per cent, reflecting increases in major transfers to persons and other levels of government and direct program expenses. Public debt charges were down $1.2 billion, or 5.0 per cent, largely reflecting a lower average effective interest rate on the stock of interest-bearing debt.   

February 2016

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There was a budgetary surplus of $3.2 billion in February 2016, down $1.4 billion from the budgetary surplus reported for February 2015. 

Revenues in February 2016 totalled $26.6 billion, up $7 million from February 2015.

  • Personal income tax revenues were down $0.6 billion, or 5.7 per cent.
  • Corporate income tax revenues were up $0.2 billion, or 3.6 per cent.
  • Non-resident income tax revenues were down $0.1 billion, or 26.9 per cent.
  • Excise taxes and duties were up $0.5 billion, or 14.3 per cent. Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenues increased by $0.4 billion, energy taxes decreased by $6 million, customs import duties increased by $0.1 billion, and other excise taxes and duties increased by $46 million.
  • Employment Insurance (EI) premium revenues were up $20 million, or 0.7 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, were up $46 million, or 2.2 per cent.

Program expenses in February 2016 were $21.8 billion, up $1.6 billion, or 7.7 per cent, from February 2015. 

  • Major transfers to persons, consisting of elderly, EI and children’s benefits, increased by $0.8 billion, or 11.9 per cent. Elderly benefits increased by $0.1 billion, or 3.7 per cent, due to growth in the elderly population and changes in consumer prices, to which benefits are fully indexed. EI benefit payments increased by $0.2 billion, or 10.7 per cent. Children’s benefits, which consist of the Canada Child Tax Benefit and the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB), increased by $0.4 billion, or 43.0 per cent, largely reflecting increased benefits related to the enhancement and expansion of the UCCB in 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 $0.5 billion, or 9.4 per cent, reflecting legislated growth in the Canada Health Transfer, the Canada Social Transfer, Equalization transfers and transfers to the territories, as well as a Fiscal Stabilization payment to Alberta.
  • 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 operating expenses of National Defence, other departments and agencies, and expenses of Crown corporations. Direct program expenses were up $0.3 billion, or 3.5 per cent. Within direct program expenses:
    • Transfer payments decreased by $0.2 billion, or 6.7 per cent.
    • Other direct program expenses increased by $0.5 billion, or 7.8 per cent.

Public debt charges decreased by $0.1 billion, or 6.8 per cent, largely reflecting a lower average effective interest rate on the stock of interest-bearing debt.

April 2015 to February 2016

For the April to February period of the 2015–16 fiscal year, there was a budgetary surplus of $7.5 billion, compared to a surplus of $5.9 billion reported during the same period of 2014–15. 

Revenues increased by $15.6 billion, or 6.2 per cent, to $265.5 billion.

  • Personal income tax revenues were up $5.5 billion, or 4.5 per cent. 
  • Corporate income tax revenues were up $4.6 billion, or 13.8 per cent.
  • Non-resident income tax revenues were up $0.2 billion, or 3.0 per cent. 
  • Excise taxes and duties were up $3.4 billion, or 7.7 per cent. GST revenues increased by $2.3 billion, or 7.9 per cent, energy taxes by $0.1 billion, customs import duties by $0.7 billion, and other excise taxes and duties by $0.2 billion. 
  • EI premium revenues were up $0.6 billion, or 2.9 per cent, reflecting growth in earnings.
  • Other revenues were up $1.3 billion, or 5.2 per cent.

Program expenses increased by $15.3 billion, or 7.0 per cent, to $234.5 billion. 

  • Major transfers to persons were up $7.8 billion, or 11.4 per cent. Elderly benefits increased by $1.6 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 $1.6 billion, or 9.8 per cent, and children’s benefits were up $4.5 billion, or 38.3 per cent, largely reflecting increased benefits related to the enhancement and expansion of the UCCB.
  • Major transfers to other levels of government were up $2.9 billion, or 5.0 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 $4.6 billion, or 4.9 per cent. Within direct program expenses:
    • Transfer payments decreased by $0.4 billion, or 1.4 per cent.
    • Other direct program expenses increased by $5.0 billion, or 7.7 per cent, due in large part to an increase in Crown corporation expenses and an increase in pension and other future benefit costs based on the Government’s latest actuarial valuations.

Public debt charges decreased by $1.2 billion, or 5.0 per cent, largely reflecting a lower average effective interest rate on the stock of interest-bearing debt.

Revenues and expenses (April 2015 to February 2016)
Revenues and expenses (April 2015 to February 2016) - For details, refer to preceding paragraphs.
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.

Financial requirement of $14.1 billion for April 2015 to February 2016

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 $7.5 billion and a financial requirement of $21.6 billion from non-budgetary transactions, there was a financial requirement of $14.1 billion for the April 2015 to February 2016 period, compared to a financial requirement of $3.8 billion for the same period the previous year. 

Net financing activities up $29.0 billion

The Government financed its financial requirement of $14.1 billion and increased cash balances by $14.9 billion by increasing unmatured debt by $29.0 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 February 2016 stood at $42.8 billion, up $14.4 billion from their level at the end of February 2015.

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

  2015 2016 2014–15 2015–16
Budgetary transactions        
  Revenues 26,641 26,648 249,923 265,486
  Expenses
    Program expenses -20,213 -21,764 -219,272 -234,529
    Public debt charges -1,801 -1,679 -24,715 -23,484
 

  Budgetary balance (deficit/surplus) 4,627 3,205 5,936 7,473
Non-budgetary transactions -2,352 -83 -9,734 -21,622
 

Financial source/requirement 2,275 3,122 -3,798 -14,149
Net change in financing activities -10,652 -10,433 6,116 29,033
 

Net change in cash balances -8,377 -7,311 2,318 14,884
Cash balance at end of period 28,391 42,835
Note: Positive numbers indicate a net source of funds. Negative numbers indicate a net requirement for funds.
 
Table 2
Revenues
  February   April to February  
 
 
 
  2015
($ millions)
2016
($ millions)
Change
(%)
2014–15
($ millions)
2015–16
($ millions)
Change
(%)
Tax revenues            
  Income taxes            
    Personal income tax 11,392 10,744 -5.7 122,051 127,587 4.5
    Corporate income tax 6,533 6,769 3.6 33,482 38,099 13.8
    Non-resident income tax 499 365 -26.9 5,712 5,883 3.0
 

    Total income tax 18,424 17,878 -3.0 161,245 171,569 6.4
  Excise taxes and duties
    Goods and Services Tax 2,169 2,556 17.8 28,912 31,210 7.9
    Energy taxes 461 455 -1.3 5,071 5,211 2.8
    Customs import duties 391 451 15.3 4,165 4,899 17.6
    Other excise taxes and duties 381 427 12.1 5,316 5,500 3.5
 

    Total excise taxes and duties 3,402 3,889 14.3 43,464 46,820 7.7
 

  Total tax revenues 21,826 21,767 -0.3 204,709 218,389 6.7
Employment Insurance premiums 2,714 2,734 0.7 19,935 20,506 2.9
Other revenues 2,101 2,147 2.2 25,279 26,591 5.2
 

Total revenues 26,641 26,648 0.0 249,923 265,486 6.2
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.
 
Table 3
Expenses
  February   April to February  
 
 
 
  2015
($ millions)
2016
($ millions)
Change
(%)
2014–15
($ millions)
2015–16
($ millions)
Change
(%)
Major transfers to persons            
  Elderly benefits 3,745 3,885 3.7 39,977 41,592 4.0
  Employment Insurance benefits 1,690 1,870 10.7 16,255 17,850 9.8
  Children's benefits 1,044 1,493 43.0 11,864 16,407 38.3
 

  Total 6,479 7,248 11.9 68,096 75,849 11.4
Major transfers to other levels
  of government
  Support for health and other
    social programs
    Canada Health Transfer 2,676 2,836 6.0 29,438 31,189 5.9
    Canada Social Transfer 1,048 1,080 3.1 11,533 11,879 3.0
 

    Total 3,724 3,916 5.2 40,971 43,068 5.1
  Fiscal arrangements and other transfers1 1,625 1,939 19.3 18,702 19,500 4.3
  Canada's cities and communities 27 27 0.0 1,958 1,937 -1.1
  Quebec Abatement -340 -371 9.1 -4,098 -4,081 -0.4
 

  Total 5,036 5,511 9.4 57,533 60,424 5.0
Direct program expenses
  Transfer payments
    Aboriginal Affairs and
      Northern Development
526 370 -29.7 5,492 6,292 14.6
    Agriculture and Agri-Food 108 57 -47.2 873 1,019 16.7
    Employment and Social Development 410 469 14.4 5,168 5,328 3.1
    Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development 427 429 0.5 2,393 2,831 18.3
    Health 100 99 -1.0 2,630 2,652 0.8
    Industry 170 185 8.8 1,985 938 -52.7
    Other1 810 771 -4.8 9,927 9,019 -9.1
 

    Total 2,551 2,380 -6.7 28,468 28,079 -1.4
  Other direct program expenses
    Crown corporations 810 823 1.6 6,923 7,836 13.2
    National Defence 1,752 1,949 11.2 18,378 20,660 12.4
    All other departments
      and agencies
3,585 3,853 7.5 39,874 41,681 4.5
 

    Total other direct program expenses 6,147 6,625 7.8 65,175 70,177 7.7
 

  Total direct program expenses 8,698 9,005 3.5 93,643 98,256 4.9
 

Total program expenses 20,213 21,764 7.7 219,272 234,529 7.0
Public debt charges 1,801 1,679 -6.8 24,715 23,484 -5.0
 

Total expenses 22,014 23,443 6.5 243,987 258,013 5.7

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
  February April to February
 

  2015 2016 2014–15 2015–16
Budgetary balance (deficit/surplus) 4,627 3,205 5,936 7,473
Non-budgetary transactions
  Capital investment activities -637 -419 -3,551 -3,979
  Other investing activities -66 -172 2,408 -6,111
  Pension and other accounts 357 397 2,103 4,439
  Other activities    
    Accounts payable, receivables, accruals and allowances -3,286 -3,596 -6,222 -8,424
    Foreign exchange activities 936 3,416 -7,884 -11,356
    Amortization of tangible capital assets 344 291 3,412 3,809
 

    Total other activities -2,006 111 -10,694 -15,971
 

  Total non-budgetary transactions -2,352 -83 -9,734 -21,622
 

Financial source/requirement 2,275 3,122 -3,798 -14,149
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.
 
Table 5
Financial source/requirement and net financing activities
$ millions
  February April to February
 

  2015 2016 2014–15 2015–16
Financial source/requirement 2,275 3,122 -3,798 -14,149
Net increase (+)/decrease (-) in financing activities
  Unmatured debt transactions
    Canadian currency borrowings
      Marketable bonds -5,903 -1,723 10,098 15,477
      Treasury bills -3,500 -5,600 -7,800 6,500
      Retail debt -32 -27 -662 -589
 

      Total -9,435 -7,350 1,636 21,388
    Foreign currency borrowings -483 -387 -317 3,447
 

    Total -9,918 -7,737 1,319 24,835
    Cross-currency swap revaluation -1,131 -2,657 4,218 3,718
    Unamortized discounts and premiums on market debt 409 -20 943 702
    Obligations related to capital leases and other unmatured debt -12 -19 -364 -222
 

  Net change in financing activities -10,652 -10,433 6,116 29,033
Change in cash balance -8,377 -7,311 2,318 14,884
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.
 
Table 6
Condensed statement of assets and liabilities
$ millions
March 31,
2015
February 29,
2016
Change
Liabilities
   Accounts payable and accrued liabilities 123,631 124,984 1,353
   Interest-bearing debt
      Unmatured debt
         Payable in Canadian currency
            Marketable bonds 487,881 503,358 15,477
            Treasury bills 135,692 142,192 6,500
            Retail debt 5,660 5,071 -589
 
            Subtotal 629,233 650,621 21,388
      Payable in foreign currencies 20,267 23,714 3,447
      Cross-currency swap revaluation 6,669 10,387 3,718
      Unamortized discounts and premiums on market debt 4,296 4,998 702
      Obligations related to capital leases and other unmatured debt 4,715 4,493 -222
 
      Total unmatured debt 665,180 694,213 29,033
     Pension and other liabilities  
         Public sector pensions 152,664 152,068 -596
         Other employee and veteran future benefits 76,140 81,343 5,203
         Other liabilities 6,002 5,834 -168
 
         Total pension and other liabilities 234,806 239,245 4,439
 
      Total interest-bearing debt 899,986 933,458 33,472
 
   Total liabilities 1,023,617 1,058,442 34,825
Financial assets
   Cash and accounts receivable 136,696 161,357 24,661
   Foreign exchange accounts 85,018 96,374 11,356
   Loans, investments, and advances (net of allowances)1 113,681 118,325 4,644
   Public sector pension assets 1,263 1,263 0
 
   Total financial assets 336,658 377,319 40,661
 
Net debt 686,959 681,123 -5,836
Non-financial assets 74,629 74,799 170
 
Federal debt (accumulated deficit) 612,330 606,324 -6,006
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.
1 February 29, 2016 amount includes $1.5 billion in other comprehensive losses from enterprise Crown corporations and other government business enterprises for the April 2015 to February 2016 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.

April 2016