The federal government ran a deficit of $248.2 billion through the first nine months of its 2020-21 fiscal year as spending soared due to the pandemic.
The result for the April-to-December period compared with a deficit of $11 billion in the same period a year earlier.
The government says in its fiscal monitor that the unprecedented shift in the government’s financial results reflects the severe deterioration in the economy and the government’s response plan to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Revenue was $207.7 billion for the April-to-December period, down from $246 billion, as tax and other revenue fell.
Meanwhile, program spending, excluding net actuarial losses, rose to $428.9 billion from $230.5 billion in the same period a year earlier, due in large part to the many programs established to help people and businesses during the pandemic.
Public debt charges fell to $15.4 billion compared with $18.4 billion a year earlier, while net actuarial losses increased to $11.5 billion from $8.1 billion.