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Total spending increased at a faster rate than inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

The total expenditures of public elementary and secondary schools in Canada rose by 27.6% in the past seven years, from $37.2 billion in 1999/2000 to $47.4 billion in 2005/2006 (Table A.16). In comparison, inflation went up 15.2% during the same time frame (Table A.33).

Nationwide in 2005/2006, operational expenses represented 90.3% of total expenditures, compared to 7.2% for annual capital expenditures. The other expenditures are mainly from interest on debt services (Chart 7 and Tables A.14, A.15 and A.16).

Chart 7
Breakdown by type of expenditures, Canada, provinces and territories, 2005/2006

Operational expenses

In 1999/2000, operational expenses in the nation were $33.2 billion (Table A.14). Six years later, they reached $42.8 billion, a 29% increase, compared to an inflation rate of 15.2% for the same period. It should be noted that approximately half of operational expenses are directly linked to educators' salary expenses (Tables A.13 and A.14).

From 1999/2000 to 2005/2006, the operational expenses of all jurisdictions except for Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Nunavut grew in each year.

Alberta had the highest increase in operational expenses between 1999/2000 and 2005/2006 at nearly 52%, compared to Newfoundland and Labrador, whose increase was a little over 15%.

Annual capital expenditures

Nationwide in 1999/2000, annual capital expenditures amounted to $2.8 billion, compared to $3.4 billion in 2005/2006, an increase of nearly 23% (Table A.15). In 2005/2006, annual capital expenditures reached a high. It should be noted that annual capital expenditures can vary upward or downward, depending on the types of investments made, as demonstrated by Nova Scotia (380%) in 2000/2001 and Saskatchewan (380%) in 2002/2003.

However, annual capital expenditures represented between 7% and 8% of total expenditures nationally, over the seven fiscal years examined by the study.