According to newly released figures from the Finance Department Monday, Ottawa will run a deficit of at least $18.4 billion next year.
That’s nearly nearly five times the $3.9-billion projection made just three months ago.
The shortfall could well exceed $20 billion after the Liberal government factors in their big-ticket election promises.
The government is also predicting a $15.5-billion deficit in 2017-18, more than six times its $2.4 billion estimate made last fall.
The Liberals are counting on some of their spending vows to help provide a much-needed boost of economic growth and create jobs in Canada.
The calculations are based on an average projected oil price of $40 for 2016, down from $54 in the government’s fall update, and projected growth of 1.4 per cent, down from two per cent in the fall.
Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau also confirmed on Monday that the federal budget will be tabled on March 22nd.