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The Pinocchio Index of Budget Overshoots

Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments routinely overshoot their budget targets – and their misses are not random.

In this edition of the C.D. Howe Institute’s Graphic Intelligence, we show each senior government’s cumulative overshoot since 2000. Their combined overshoots over the 18 years is $91 billion.  This means that they now spend almost $2,500 more per Canadian than they would have if they had hit their targets. This is a lot of money: Alberta’s overshoot equals 35 percent of its projected spending in 2018/19. Canada’s senior governments are spending more, and taxing Canadians more heavily, than they would be if they had delivered on their budget commitments.

To learn more about the fiscal accountability of Canada’s senior governments, read “Big Spenders: Canada’s Senior Governments Have a Bad Budget Habit,” by William B.P. Robson and Farah Omran.