Goal 19

Net Debt to GDP

By 2024 the Province of Nova Scotia’s net debt to GDP ratio will be 30% or less.


Nova Scotia flag waving in the wind at dusk by Halifax Harbour. Nova Scotia flag waving in the wind at dusk by Halifax Harbour.

Goal Status

donut shaped icon to signify the status of not progressing Not Progressing Not On Track
Baseline: 36.9%
Current: 32.7%
Target: 30%
Updated:
Bands

Current Situation

Since 2014 Nova Scotia had been on a steady trend of reductions in its net debt to GDP ratio. In the last provincial budget (February 2020) before the arrival of COVID-19, however, that trend halted. The forecasts in that budget showed the ratio bottoming out at 33.0% in 2019-20 and then rising every year out to 2023-24, reaching 34.5% at that time.

The pandemic has had very significant impacts on Nova Scotia’s GDP and on both the expenditures, revenues, and borrowing of the provincial government. From 2019-20 to 2020-21, the net debt to GDP ratio is estimated to jump by 4.7 percentage points, the biggest year to year change since the early 1990s. With an economic recovery expected to take hold in 2021, the rate of increase in the net debt to GDP ratio will slow considerably, but it will continue to grow, reaching 40.1% by 2024-25, the highest level since 2003-04.

Even before COVID-19, 2019-20 marked an inflection point where the trend of a rising net debt to GDP ratio would move the province farther away from the OneNS goal. The effects of the pandemic substantially increase the gap.

Fiscal year Actual Forecast/Projection Target
1981-82 16.70% 30.00%
1982-83 19.90% 30.00%
1983-84 21.40% 30.00%
1984-85 23.00% 30.00%
1985-86 25.00% 30.00%
1986-87 24.80% 30.00%
1987-88 24.80% 30.00%
1988-89 24.70% 30.00%
1989-90 26.10% 30.00%
1990-91 26.80% 30.00%
1991-92 29.60% 30.00%
1992-93 38.70% 30.00%
1993-94 42.80% 30.00%
1994-95 44.10% 30.00%
1995-96 43.90% 30.00%
1996-97 45.50% 30.00%
1997-98 44.20% 30.00%
1998-99 46.70% 30.00%
1999-00 47.10% 30.00%
2000-01 44.50% 30.00%
2001-02 45.30% 30.00%
2002-03 43.50% 30.00%
2003-04 41.30% 30.00%
2004-05 39.80% 30.00%
2005-06 38.00% 30.00%
2006-07 37.70% 30.00%
2007-08 35.60% 30.00%
2008-09 36.20% 30.00%
2009-10 37.30% 30.00%
2010-11 34.70% 30.00%
2011-12 35.50% 30.00%
2012-13 36.80% 30.00%
2013-14 38.10% 30.00%
2014-15 37.70% 30.00%
2015-16 37.00% 30.00%
2016-17 36.00% 30.00%
2017-18 34.60% 30.00%
2018-19 33.40% 30.00%
2019-20 32.70% 30.00%
2020-21 37.40% 30.00%
2021-22 37.90% 30.00%
2022-23 38.40% 30.00%
2023-24 39.40% 30.00%
2024-25 40.10% 30.00%

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Note: Projections are from Budget 2021-22.

What This Means

This data point measures the dollar value of the provincial government's debt relative to the size of the province’s GDP. It is expressed in this ratio because the size of the GDP is a common measure of the province's tax base from which to draw revenue, and thus a measure of its ability to pay down the debt.

Deep Dive

Read more detailed information about this goal by clicking 'Deep Dive'

Net Debt to GDP Deep Dive

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