The Conservative government is expected to beat its deficit target for the last fiscal year, but the final numbers won't be known until fall.
According to the Fiscal Monitor - a monthly tracking report - the federal deficit from April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011, stands at $34.4-billion. That's nearly $6-billion lower than the $40.5-billion deficit forecast in the March, 2011, budget that failed to win Parliamentary support before the election.
However the report cautions against citing the $6-billion figure, as further adjustments are expected before the final number is released in the fall.
"We expect these end-of-year adjustments to increase the deficit from the $34.4-billion amount," states the Finance Canada report. "However, based on the results to date, the final 2010-11 deficit is expected to be lower than $40.5-billion projected in the March 22 budget, largely due to lower program expenses."
The report promises a further update in the June 6 budget, which will largely re-introduce the measures proposed in the March 22 budget.
As for the monthly tracking, Ottawa recorded a $6.2-billion deficit in March, 2011, compared to a $6.4-billion deficit in March, 2010. For the year as a whole, the $34.4-billion deficit is down from $47-billion during the same period a year earlier.
Year-over-year numbers for government revenue show Ottawa collected 5.6-per-cent more in personal income tax, 2.3-per-cent more in corporate income tax, 10.8-per-cent less in non-resident income tax, 6-per-cent more in GST, 2.6-per-cent more in customs import duties and 12-per-cent more in other excise taxes and duties.
Over all, total tax revenues were up 4.7 per cent.
On the spending side, program expenses were $236.7-billion, a 0.4-per-cent decrease from the year before, while public debt charges rose 4.7 per cent to $30.9-billion due to a higher debt burden.
The March budget forecast Canada's debt will climb from $519-billion in 2009-10 to $615-billion in 2014-15 before Ottawa erases the deficit and returns to paying down debt.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Prime Minister Stephen Harper are promising to erase the deficit in 2014-15, a year earlier than outlined in the March budget.