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Finance Minister Joe Oliver.MARK BLINCH/Reuters

The federal government has already made "conservative" adjustments to its fiscal forecasts to account for the impact of lower oil prices, Finance Minister Joe Oliver says.

Mr. Oliver spoke to the media prior to reports that OPEC has decided not to cut oil production. The federal finance minister pointed to his fiscal update earlier this month to show that Ottawa has already factored in a significant hit to its revenues as a result of the lower prices.

"When we took into account the oil price decline which had already occurred, we made the assumption that the prices would stay at the low level for the entire [five-year] period, which is, you know, a relatively conservative assumption and we'll continue to monitor the level of prices," he said in Toronto, where he was taking part in pre-budget consultations.

"I obviously don't intend to talk about the direction of markets or commodity prices, however, what I have said is that the major risks to Canada are external," he said, pointing to slower-than-expected growth in Europe and China.

Earlier this month, Mr. Oliver released a fall fiscal update that shaved billions off of the government's revenue expectations over the coming year.

Specifically, the government estimated revenues would be $500-million lower in the current fiscal year and $2.5-billion per year lower from 2015 to 2019. Those estimates were based on an assumption of North American oil prices at around $81 (U.S.) per barrel throughout the forecast period.

Economists speculated Thursday that the price of oil could drop below $70 should the oil-producing nations of OPEC decide against cutting production.

Mr. Oliver later told BNN that he would not be commenting on the details of how OPEC nations should handle the issue.

"There's going to be an important meeting and we'll see where it goes. The price of oil has a multiplicity of implications for Canada, some positive, some not positive," he said.

"I'm not going to express an opinion on what another nation should do, but clearly everybody is looking at this issue and we're monitoring it very carefully," he said.