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The evolution of the federal government's finances since Confederation, 150 years ago, reflects the tremendous impact of key periods: early nation building, two world wars, the Great Depression, the postwar boom, the oil shock, the federal fiscal crisis of the early 1990s and the past decade, which was dominated by the Great Recession.

Percentage of the federal government’s

revenue, 1867–2017

Excise taxes

and duties

Personal

income tax

Non-resident

income tax

Other

Customs

duties

Corporate

income tax

General sales

taxes

100%

80

60

40

20

0

57

77

97

’17

1867

77

97

17

37

REVENUE

From 1867 to 1913, the lion’s share of the federal

government’s revenue came from customs

duties. Then, during the First World War, the war

effort demanded new revenue sources, resulting

in the introduction of personal income, corporate

and sales taxes. Personal income tax went on to

become the single-most important stream of

revenue and is expected to account for about 51

per cent of total revenue this year.

Percentage of the federal government’s

expenditure, 1867–2017

Public

debt

charges

Transfers

to other

governments

Old

age

security

National

defence

Other

program

expenditures

 

Family

allowances

and child

benefits

Employment

relief insurance

100%

80

60

40

20

0

57

77

97

’17

1867

77

97

17

37

EXPENDITURES

During Canada’s first half century, the federal

government focused its spending on its

ministries – mostly on salaries, goods and

services, national defence and communications

and transportation infrastructure. The two world

wars resulted in massive spikes in military

spending. The postwar era has seen a dramatic

rise in spending to feed the growth of a

comprehensive welfare state, which includes

provincial transfers for health care.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: FRASER INSTITUTE

Percentage of the federal government’s revenue,

1867–2017

Excise taxes

and duties

Personal

income tax

Non-resident

income tax

Other

Customs

duties

Corporate

income tax

General sales

taxes

100%

80

60

40

20

0

47

57

67

77

87

97

’07

’17

1867

77

87

97

’07

17

27

37

REVENUE

From 1867 to 1913, the lion’s share of the federal

government’s revenue came from customs duties. Then,

during the First World War, the war effort demanded new

revenue sources, resulting in the introduction of personal

income, corporate and sales taxes. Personal income tax

went on to become the single-most important stream of

revenue and is expected to account for about 51 per cent

of total revenue this year.

Percentage of the federal government’s expenditure,

1867–2017

Public

debt

charges

Transfers

to other

governments

Old

age

security

National

defence

Other

program

expenditures

 

Family allowances

and child benefits

Employment

relief insurance

100%

80

60

40

20

0

47

57

67

77

87

97

’07

’17

1867

77

87

97

’07

17

27

37

EXPENDITURES

During Canada’s first half century, the federal government

focused its spending on its ministries – mostly on salaries,

goods and services, national defence and communications

and transportation infrastructure. The two world wars

resulted in massive spikes in military spending.

The postwar era has seen a dramatic rise in spending to

feed the growth of a comprehensive welfare state, which

includes provincial transfers for health care.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: FRASER INSTITUTE

Percentage of the federal government’s revenue, 1867–2017

Excise taxes

and duties

Customs

duties

Corporate

income tax

Personal

income tax

General sales

taxes

Non-resident

income tax

Other

100%

80

60

40

20

0

1947

1957

1967

1977

1987

1997

2007

’17

1867

1877

1887

1897

1907

1917

1927

1937

REVENUE

From 1867 to 1913, the lion’s share of the federal government’s revenue came from

customs duties. Then, during the First World War, the war effort demanded new

revenue sources, resulting in the introduction of personal income, corporate and sales

taxes. Personal income tax went on to become the single-most important stream

of revenue and is expected to account for about 51 per cent of total revenue this year.

Percentage of the federal government’s expenditure, 1867–2017

Public

debt

charges

Other

program

expenditures

Transfers

to other

governments

Family

allowances and

child benefits

Old

age

security

National

defence

Employment

relief insurance

100%

80

60

40

20

0

1867

1877

1887

1897

1907

1917

1927

1937

1947

1957

1967

1977

1987

1997

2007

’17

EXPENDITURES

During Canada’s first half century, the federal government focused its spending

on its ministries – mostly on salaries, goods and services, national defence and

communications and transportation infrastructure. The two world wars resulted

in massive spikes in military spending. The postwar era has seen a dramatic rise

in spending to feed the growth of a comprehensive welfare state, which includes

provincial transfers for health care.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: FRASER INSTITUTE