Federal and Provincial Debt-Interest Costs for Canadians

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Federal and Provincial Debt-Interest Costs for Canadians


  • In recent years, deficit spending and growing government debt have become a trend for many Canadian governments. Like households, governments are required to pay interest on their debt.
  • In aggregate, the provinces and federal government are expected to spend $49.6 billion on interest payments in 2020/21.
  • Residents in Newfoundland & Labrador face by far the highest combined federal-provincial interest payments per person ($2,604). Quebec, Canada’s second most populous province, is the next highest at $1,417 per person.
  • The federal government alone will spend $20.2 billion on debt servicing charges in 2020/21, which is roughly equivalent to what the government expects to spend on Equalization ($20.6 billion) and collect in Employment Insurance Premiums ($21.5 billion).
  • Ontarians are projected to spend $20.3 billion on combined federal and provincial interest costs in 2020/21, which is more than the province will spend on infrastructure this year.
  • Meanwhile, total expenditures on interest costs for Albertans ($4.8 billion) is close to the expected spending on advanced education in the province. Combined federal-provincial interest costs for British Columbians ($5.5 billion) are more than what the province expects to spend on its Medical Services Plan this year.

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