Contributed by Robert Lyman © 2022. Robert Lyman’s bio can be read here.

The Department of Finance publishes “Fiscal Reference Tables” that, while rarely reported on by the media, provide invaluable information about the sources and uses of public funds. Here are a few examples that offer an insight into one aspect of the costs of COVID.

Federal government revenues rose from $332.2 billion in 2018-2019 to $334.1 billion in 2019-2020, and then fell to $316.4 billion in 2020-2021.

Federal expenditures, excluding interest payments on the debt, rose from $314.5 billion in 2018-2019 to $608.5 billion in 2020-2021. In other words, expenditures rose by 93% in two years, the largest increase in history.

The federal government budgetary deficit rose from $5.6 billion in 2018-2019 to $312.4 billion in 2020-2021, an increase of 5479%.

The total interest-bearing debt of the federal government rose from $1.02 trillion in 2018-2019 to $1.44 trillion in 2020-2021. A one per cent increase in interest rates would add $14.4 billion to annual federal debt servicing charges.

The 2020-2021 figures for all provinces and territories are not yet available. In 2019-2020, the net debt of the provinces and territories was $706.7 billion.

The combined federal/provincial/territorial debt equaled 118% of GDP in 2020. By comparison, here are the debt/GDP ratios of some other countries: Greece, 177%; Italy 135%; USA, 107%; France, 98%: United Kingdom, 81%, China, 51%.

These figures offer only a partial insight into the financial problems facing Canadians.

These are staggering numbers that ordinary people rarely have to consider in their daily lives. This may offer people a way to put these numbers in perspective:

One thousand: 1,000 seconds is 17 minutes.

One million: 1,000,000 seconds is 11 days.

One billion: 1,000,000,000 seconds is 31.5 years.

One trillion: 1,000,000,000,000 is 31,709 years.

Page Tutor also has a helpful visual reference: