The federal government ran a $1.8-billion deficit in July, according to Finance Canada's monthly tracking of Ottawa's bottom line.
The department's fiscal monitor report shows that over the first four months of the fiscal year that began April 1, the deficit is $2.8-billion. During the same four months last year, Ottawa ran a $5.2-billion surplus.
Earlier this week, the Parliamentary Budget Officer reported that federal spending over the first quarter of the year was 5.7 per cent higher than in the first quarter of the previous year.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau is scheduled to meet with private sector economists on Oct. 13 to get their take on how their forecasts have changed since the March budget. That information will be compiled into a fall economic update, which will likely take place in November. Mr. Morneau has suggested the government has not yet decided whether the update will simply be a traditional refresh of federal forecasts or whether it will include new policy measures.
Mr. Morneau's March budget projected a $29.4-billion deficit in 2016-17, followed by a $29-billion deficit in 2017-18. The budget also said that annual deficits in the short term can be managed while gradually lowering the size of the federal debt as a percentage of Canada's Gross Domestic Product.