Here’s an overview of the budget balances for the federal and provincial governments, to give some context to the federal government’s recently announced budget surplus. You can select from three options:

  1. The budget balance. Each government has its own accounting practices, so they aren’t exactly comparable. I am using numbers from the Royal Bank of Canada, who has made decisions on what to include and exclude for me.
  2. The budget balance relative to GDP. This is the percentage of Canada’s or the province’s GDP in the budget balance. Or in other words, it’s the budget balance divided by that government’s GDP.
  3. The budget balance adjusted for inflation. The budget balance in 2015 dollars, to account for past inflation.

Source: Royal Bank of Canada, Canadian Federal and Provincial Fiscal Tables for September 15, 2015, with the inflation adjustments courtesy of the Bank of Canada’s Inflation Calculator