How are your taxes spent? We investigate.
Total spending: $241.4 billion
The federal government spent $241.4 billion in 2015–16, up by about $13 billion from five years earlier. Most of that went to Old Age Security payments ($35 billion) and provincial health transfers.
- Universal Child Care Benefit: $8.76 billion
- Indigenous Affairs grants and contributions: $6.48 billion
- Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development grants and contributions: $3.83 billion
Privy Council Office
The Privy Council Office, a key central agency in the public service, supports the Prime Minister’s Office, and spent $123 million under Justin Trudeau in 2015–16. That’s down by about $32 million from five years earlier under Stephen Harper. The number of full-time equivalent employees also dropped. The agency is run by the clerk of the Privy Council, who, taking the prime minister’s lead, coordinates work with deputy ministers (the heads of departments).
- Personnel: $103 million
- Transportation and telecommunications: $3.5 million
- Prime minister’s salary and car allowance: $169,600
The Finance Department, a central keeper of the federal purse, spends most of its budget on transfer payments. In 2015–16, the department spent $64.1 billion, or 73.7% of total spending, on these transfers. The big ones were $34 billion in Canada health transfers to the provinces and $17.3 billion in equalization payments.
- Programs and operations: $97.47 million
- Interest on unmatured debt: $15.1 million
- Purchase of domestic coinage: $90.54 million
- Losses on foreign exchange: $55.37 million
Department of Defence
The Department of Defence has one of the largest budgets, spending $18.7 billion in 2015–16. Under the personnel category, it spent a yearly $9.6 billion per year over the past five years. The Defence Department also makes transfer payments, which averaged $170.3 million per year during that period. The department’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization contribution has been the largest of the transfers, averaging $91.2 million per year in the past five years.
- Programs and operations: $13.78 billion
- Personnel: $8.97 billion
- Acquisition of machinery and equipment: $2.34 billion
- Contributions to military member benefit plans: $1.27 billion