2023 Economic and Fiscal Update: Full Coverage

2023 Economic and Fiscal Update: Full Coverage

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will rise in the House of Commons after hinting her government "won't be able to do everything."

Freeland says the fall update will include housing and affordability measures. And also include a commitment to fiscal responsibility in a "challenging macroeconomic environment" of high interest rates and low growth. 

Last spring's budget projected a $40.1-billion deficit for 2023-24. The parliamentary budget officer expects the number closer to $47 billion. And some economists believe the number could reach $56 billion. 

The government already reported a $4.3 billion deficit between April and August 2023 -- compared to a $3.9 billion surplus for the same period in 2022. Finance Canada pointed to more spending (especially health transfers and child care, climate rebate, housing, and benefits), more debt charges due to higher interest rates, and revenue gains (1.4%) not keeping up with up with inflation or meeting budget projections. 

Meanwhile, the PBO says federal spending plans are up 8.4% ($37.2 billion) so far this year compared to last fiscal year.

Conservatives want a plan for balancing the budget, accusing the government of inflationary spending keeping interest rates high. The official opposition also wants an end to federal carbon pricing. 

The Bloc Québécois wish list includes an emergency fund for homelessness, an emergency fund for news media, and a one-year extension for businesses to repay federal pandemic loans. 

And the NDP, which remains in a confidence and supply agreement with the Trudeau government, wants "concrete actions to lower grocery bills and to build homes people can afford."

MORE COVERAGE: Budget 2023

The Trudeau government abandoned its budget surplus projection by 2028, and laid out $45.6 billion in new spending over five years. But Freeland said Canada’s fiscal anchor of debt-to-GDP ratio remained on a downward track.

Freeland claimed the government was “exercising fiscal restraint … ensuring that we can continue to invest in Canadians and the Canadian economy.”