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Consolidated Canadian Government Finance Statistics, 2014

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Released: 2016-03-23

Canadian general government fiscal burden is up

The total fiscal burden in Canada—tax revenues and social contributions imposed by governments on individuals, corporations and non-residents—was $15,872 per capita in 2014, up from $14,027 in 2008. The fiscal burden is a commonly used fiscal indicator derived from the Government Finance Statistics framework (for concept definitions, see note to readers).

From 2008 to 2009, the total fiscal burden was down $14.2 billion as a result of lower income and profits related to the 2008 financial crisis. In 2009, the fiscal burden attributable to the federal government recorded a drop of $8.5 billion, compared with a decrease of $5.7 billion for provincial–territorial and local governments (PTLGs).

Since 2009, the total fiscal burden attributable to the Canadian general government (CGG)—federal, provincial–territorial and local governments combined—has risen $112.0 billion, reaching $564.2 billion in 2014.

In 2014, CGG reported revenues of $688.0 billion, with taxes and social contributions accounting for 82% of total revenue.

Total PTLG revenues amounted to $497.0 billion in 2014, with taxes ($295.4 billion) and social contributions ($12.5 billion) accounting for 62% of overall revenues.

Provincial–territorial and local governments' fiscal burden increases in every province

The total PTLG fiscal burden was $8,662 per capita in 2014, up by $1,153 per capita from 2008.

The fiscal burden per capita increased in every province over the period, with Quebec (+$1,700 per capita) and Nova Scotia (+$1,579 per capita) recording the largest gains. The smallest increases were observed in Saskatchewan (+$540 per capita) and Alberta (+$725 per capita).

Among the provinces, Quebec recorded the highest PTLG fiscal burden in 2014, at $9,941 per capita. Quebec has had the highest fiscal burden since 2009.

In 2008, Saskatchewan recorded the highest PTLG fiscal burden, at $8,765 per capita, due in part to higher tax payments from mining corporations.

On the other hand, Prince Edward Island recorded the lowest fiscal burden among the provinces in 2014, at $6,888 per capita. From 2008 to 2014, both New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island consistently reported the lowest PTLG burden among the provinces.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Fiscal burden per capita, Canadian general government and selected provincial–territorial and local governments, 2008 to 2014
Fiscal burden per capita, Canadian general government and selected provincial–territorial and local governments, 2008 to 2014

Revenue from grants in Newfoundland and Labrador decrease sharply

In 2014, 16% (or $77.5 billion) of Canada's PTLG revenues came from grants. PTLG grants are transfers received from the federal government, such as the Canada Health Transfer, Canada Social Transfer and fiscal equalization transfer.

On a per capita basis, Prince Edward Island was the province with the highest PTLG grant revenue in 2014, at $4,674. In 2008, grant revenue per capita was highest in Newfoundland and Labrador, because of the larger grants related to offshore royalties. Conversely, Alberta recorded the lowest PTLG grant revenue per capita in 2014, at $1,587.

PTLG per capita revenue attributable to grants in Canada rose by $212 from 2008 to 2014, with Prince Edward Island (+$583) and Ontario (+$372) recording the strongest increases.

Over the same period, Newfoundland and Labrador (-$4,306), Manitoba (-$293) and Saskatchewan (-$40) experienced decreases in PTLG grant revenue per capita.

The large decrease in Newfoundland and Labrador reflects the Atlantic Accord clauses for the progressive compensation of loss of equalization payments due to increased revenues in oil royalties.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Grants revenue per capita, provincial–territorial and local governments, 2008 and 2014
Grants revenue per capita, provincial–territorial and local governments, 2008 and 2014

Expenses vary significantly among provinces

In 2014, Canada's PTLG expenses totalled $505.9 billion, with employee compensation ($191.4 billion) and use of goods and services ($133.0 billion) together accounting for 64% of expenses. In comparison, 54% of CGG expenses were allocated to employee compensation and use of goods and services in 2014. Conversely, CGG allocated a greater share of expenses to social benefits (18%) than did PTLGs (9%).

(Correction) Among the provinces, PTLG expenses per capita were highest in Newfoundland and Labrador ($16,762), Saskatchewan ($15,999) and Quebec ($15,287) in 2014, while they were lowest in British Columbia ($12,422), Ontario ($13,469) and Prince Edward Island ($13,772).

Interest expenses decrease for Canadian general government

The CGG payed 8.6 cents in interest for every dollar of revenue in 2014, representing $58.9 billion in interest expenses. This ratio was down compared with 2008, when it stood at 10.1 cents.

The ratio of interest expenses to revenue provides a measurement of the public debt burden; the more interest a government has to pay, the fewer funds it has at its disposal to administer government and deliver services. Interest expenses exceeded social benefit expenses (worker compensation benefits, family allowances, child care benefits and social assistance) for five PTLGs.

In 2014, PTLG interest expenses totalled $34.6 billion. From 2008 to 2014, the PTLG interest expense to revenue ratio was stable, hovering at around 7.0 cents in interest for every dollar of revenue.

Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest PTLG interest expense to revenue ratio in 2014, at 10.9 cents, followed by Quebec, at 10.7 cents. From 2008 to 2014, the ratio fluctuated significantly in Newfoundland and Labrador and was lower than the ratio in Quebec for several years.

The PTLG interest expense to revenue ratio was the lowest in Alberta, at 1.2 cents in 2014, followed by Saskatchewan (3.3 cents) and British Columbia (4.6 cents).

From 2008 to 2014, the PTLG interest expense to revenue ratio decreased in most provinces, notably in Nova Scotia (-2.0 cents). Increases were observed in Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta and Ontario.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Interest expenses as a proportion of total revenue, Canadian general government and provincial–territorial and local governments, 2008 and 2014
Interest expenses as a proportion of total revenue, Canadian general government and provincial–territorial and local governments, 2008 and 2014

Canadian general government's financial assets increase

In 2014, the CGG held $885.6 billion in financial assets, up 33% from 2008. Financial assets were mostly in the form of equity, loans and accounts receivable.

Canada's PTLGs held a total of $572.2 billion in financial assets in 2014, up 42% from 2008. These financial assets consisted mostly of equity, debt securities and accounts receivable.

In 2014, PTLG financial assets per capita were highest in Saskatchewan ($24,118), Alberta ($22,729) and Manitoba ($21,938). From 2008 to 2014, Quebec (+57%), Nova Scotia (+56%) and Ontario (+51%) reported the strongest increases in PTLG financial assets.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Financial assets per capita, Canadian general government and provincial–territorial and local governments, 2008 and 2014
Financial assets per capita, Canadian general government and provincial–territorial and local governments, 2008 and 2014

Canadian general government liabilities increase at faster rate than financial assets

In 2014, the CGG had $2,084.6 billion in liabilities, up 42% from 2008, while PTLGs had $1,120.3 billion in liabilities, up 60% from 2008. Debt securities, pension liabilities and accounts payable represented most of CGG and PTLG liabilities.

Quebec ($44,549), Manitoba ($37,872) and New Brunswick ($37,357) had the highest PTLG liabilities per capita in 2014, while Alberta ($16,573) and British Columbia ($21,604) had the lowest.

From 2008 to 2014, Ontario (+81%) recorded the largest increase in PTLG liabilities, up $203.1 billion (or +$13,723 per capita), followed by Manitoba (+55%) and New Brunswick (+53%).

Conversely, Newfoundland and Labrador (+14%) and Saskatchewan (+30%) reported the smallest growth in PTLG liabilities from 2008 to 2014.

Chart 5  Chart 5: Liabilities per capita, Canadian general government and provincial–territorial and local governments, 2008 and 2014
Liabilities per capita, Canadian general government and provincial–territorial and local governments, 2008 and 2014

Finance statistics in the territories differ greatly from those in the provinces

The constitutional framework of PTLGs in the territories differs from that in the provinces, leading to differences in the roles and financial authorities of government.

These differences, as well as other geographic, demographic and socioeconomic dissimilarities between the North and the rest of Canada, give rise to marked disparities in government finance statistics.

For example, per capita revenue in 2014 was much higher for the territories' PTLGs, with Nunavut's PTLG revenue per capita ($59,226) four times the average for PTLGs. Also, while most PTLG revenues across Canada come from taxes (59%), grants accounted for up to 78% of PTLG revenues in the territories.

(Correction) PTLG per capita expenses were also much higher in the territories. In 2014, they were $36,713 in Yukon, $48,272 in the Northwest Territories and $54,375 in Nunavut. In comparison, expenses for PTLGs across Canada averaged $14,233 per capita. This reflects the fact that it is more expensive to deliver government services in the North.




  Note to readers

This release introduces consolidated Canadian Government Finance Statistics data for the period from 2008 to 2014 for revenues and expenses, and from 2007 to 2014 for balance sheet stocks.

Consolidation is a method of presenting one overarching statistic for a set of units. It involves eliminating all transactions and debtor–creditor relationships among the units being consolidated. In other words, the transaction of one unit is paired with the same transaction as recorded for the second unit and both transactions are eliminated.

Consolidated data are released for the provincial–territorial and local governments (PTLGs), which include provincial and territorial governments, health and social service institutions, universities and colleges, municipalities and other local public administrations, and school boards.

PTLG data can be compared across provinces and territories because consolidation takes into account differences in administrative structure and government service delivery by removing the effects of internal public sector transactions within each jurisdiction.

Consolidated data are also released for the Canadian general government (CGG), which combines federal government data with PTLG data but excludes data for the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan.

Because PTLG finance statistics vary significantly across jurisdictions in Canada, per capita data are used to facilitate comparisons. Per capita data are based on population estimates for Canada, the provinces and the territories, available in CANSIM table 051-0001.

In this release, revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities are gross measures (totals).

In 2014, the consolidation method removed $264.5 billion in internal revenues and expenses, as well as $197.4 billion related to internal debtor–creditor relationships for the CGG.

This release also introduces data on non-financial assets and related consumption of fixed capital estimates based on the perpetual inventory method of the Canadian system of macroeconomic accounts, as recommended by the International Monetary Fund. Values found in the public accounting source of respective governments are presented as memorandum items for reconciliation purposes.

The fiscal burden, defined as revenue in the form of taxes plus social contributions, is a fiscal analysis indicator proposed by the International Monetary Fund.

Annual data correspond to the end of the fiscal year closest to December 31. For example, data for the federal government fiscal year ending on March 31, 2015 (fiscal year 2014/2015), are reported for the 2014 reference year.

Products

The Canadian Government Finance Statistics 2014 classification structure is now available in the Definitions, data sources and methods module of our website.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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