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How Much Debt is Canada in?

How Much Debt is Canada in? The national debt of Canada is causing increasing concern. The country's gross debt or financial liabilities for fiscal year 2019 totaled $2.434 trillion ($64,087 per capita). This figure represents the total debt owed by the federal government, as well as the provinces and territories of the country.

This fiscal year, the gross debt to GDP ratio was 105 percent. The federal government accounted for $47% of the total debt, or $1145 billion. Meanwhile, the rest of the entire financial liabilities were assumed by local and provincial governments.

What is the size of Canada's debt? 2.434 trillion dollars

The Covid-19 outbreak has severely worsened Canada's debt problems. The government borrowed a large sum of money in 2020 to meet the predicted deficits for the country's pandemic response costs.

2019 Budget Deficit

The federal government of Canada, along with its local, territorial, and provincial governments, ran a $25.3 billion deficit in 2019 (the reference year for the fiscal year ending March 2020). The combined Canadian general government, on the other hand, had a $2.6 billion surplus in 2018. This year's deficit amounts to 1.1 percent of GDP, which is the highest level since 2012.

The modest rise in tax income (+2.0 percent) in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis is the cause of this shortfall. Add to that a 5.1% increase in expenses, which is a significant increase over the same time period. When expenditures exceed receipts, a deficit occurs, which has an impact on the federal debt as well as local, territorial, and provincial debt.

When you compare the federal government's contribution to the 2019 deficit with the combined contributions of local, territorial, and provincial governments, you can see that the numbers aren't that far apart. In 2019, the former produced a $11.9 billion deficit, while the latter generated a $13.4 billion deficit.

Owing to a downturn in economic activity and a major increase in spending due to the pandemic in 2020, Canada expects to have high deficits in the next years. According to the 2020 economic and fiscal snapshot, deficits would rise to roughly $155 billion in 2021 and $60 billion in 2022-2023.

Debt to income ratio

Let's take a look at Canada's net debt, which is defined as gross debt (interest-bearing financial liabilities minus financial assets) minus financial assets. It's a standard method of calculating government debt that takes into account the government's financial assets, such as investments.

The sole drawback of using net debt as a benchmark is that valuing some of the government's assets is difficult. Aside from gross and net debt, you'll need to understand how to quantify government debt using public and national accounts. It's critical because what you see on the news is a variety of data measurements that can be confusing to viewers and readers. The public accounts basis is used by Canada's Department of Finance.

The unified Canadian general government had a net debt to GDP ratio of 60.9 percent in the third quarter of 2020. After a $354 billion deficit in 2020, the country's net debt is now over $1 trillion.

Where does the Canadian government get its funding?

Domestic and international financial institutions are the government of Canada's principal lenders. Big firms, insurance companies, banks, investment funds, pension funds, and other entities fall under this category.

These financial institutions purchase government bonds. Bonds are fixed-income securities issued by governments or other major organizations to investors in order to fund current operations, new investments or projects, or the repayment of existing debts.

Bond interest rates are determined by supply and demand. Interest rates will be low if demand for bonds is high compared to supply. When bond demand is low, interest rates are high.

While many people may believe that the Canadian government's debt interest rates are excessive due to the present economic crisis, this is not the case. The Bank of Canada has reduced the cost of government borrowing by purchasing government bonds in the secondary market (big corporations and other financial institutions) rather than the primary market on a weekly basis (the government).

The Bank of Canada has raised demand for government bonds by making such a prudent decision. Furthermore, it was providing low-interest loans to the Canadian government.

Government bonds are meant to be used for long-term funding. However, in addition to bonds, the government also issues retail savings bonds and treasury bills for short-term funding.

When compared to short-term debt, longer-term debt is less expensive. To deal with irregular tax remittances and excise incomes, the government usually borrows short-term debt. Furthermore, because Canada's credit rating is excellent, it is more confident in pursuing long-term funding because it can take advantage of low rates.

Why does Canada take out loans?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's administration is spending more on government projects than previous Canadian prime ministers. Furthermore, given the economic catastrophe brought on by the epidemic, the government's mounting debt is unsurprising.

In fact, the majority of the costs are intended to compensate for the economic loss caused by the pandemic. Trudeau's government intends to provide financial assistance to Canadians who have lost their jobs. It also intends to improve the country's technological and medical capabilities in the fight against the virus.

The funds will benefit caregivers, students, working parents, seniors, and small and medium-sized business owners.


In recent years, the combined Canadian general government has accumulated enormous debt. The Trudeau administration, on the other hand, promises that the funds would be utilized to help the economy recover from the crisis.

If you're interested in learning more about Canada's public debt, go to websites like

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