UNPRECEDENTED COVID- SPENDING SEES FEDERAL DEFICIT HIT NEARLY $149B

Ottawa recorded a deficit of $148.6-bilion through the first four months of the fiscal year which began in April, right as the pandemic hit.
The Finance Department says that compares with a deficit of $1.6-billion for the same period a year ago.
Program expenses totalled $215.7-billion, up $111.1-billion or just over 106% from the same four-month period a year earlier.
Seniors benefits, employment insurance payments, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and children’s benefits increased by 171% to almost $87.3-billion.
Approximately $50.4-billion of the overall increase of $55.1-billion was related to CERB, which begins to expire this weekend.
Meanwhile, the wage subsidy program cost nearly $30.6-billion from April through July.