Before the global economic downturn, Canada's combined federal and provincial debt was $778-billion. It is now more than $1-trillion. When interest rates start rising again, paying it off won't be easy.
Use this interactive to explore the federal and provincial net debt, as well as projected deficits for 2012-13. Use the buttons along the top to toggle views. Use the drop-down menu to show more information about each province.
Federal • $26-billion (deficit for 2012-13)
The March, 2012 budget initially projected a deficit of $21.1-billion. That estimate was revised to $26-billion in the November fiscal update.
Return to a balanced budget: 2015-16
It’s complicated. The Conservative 2011 election platform promised balanced books by 2014-15. The March, 2012 budget said 2015-16 and the November fiscal update said 2016-17. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has since said the deficit will be erased by 2015-16.
Low commodity prices, low inflation (which affects nominal GDP) and low growth are all conspiring to give Mr. Flaherty less revenue as he prepares a 2013 budget that is expected in late March.
The International Monetary Fund recently said Ottawa’s deficit targets are achievable. “A budgetary balance by 2015 is well within reach,” it said in a Feb. 14 report.
- Bill Curry