Skip to main content

Federal finances had yet to slip into deficit with only three months left in the fiscal year, suggesting Finance Minister Bill Morneau may be setting the stage to announce an improved bottom line in his March 19 budget.

The Finance Department released its monthly fiscal monitor report Friday, which updates federal revenue and expenses.

The report showed Ottawa recorded a $2.5-billion surplus in December 2018, which was an improvement over the $523-million surplus recorded in December 2017. Over the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, federal finances stood at a small surplus of $324-million. That is compared to an $8.9-billion deficit over the same nine-month period the previous year.

Story continues below advertisement

The pattern in recent years is for the federal government to record a large deficit in March, the last month of the fiscal year. For instance, last year the government announced a $10.6-billion deficit for March 2018 and it announced a $10.4-billion deficit in March 2017. As a result, year-to-date results should be treated with caution when projecting the expected deficit or surplus for the year.

Mr. Morneau’s November 21 fiscal update said the 2018-19 fiscal year – which ends March 31 – was on track to record a deficit of $18.1-billion. The fall update said the deficit would increase the next year to $19.6-billion, before declining gradually in future years.

Mr. Morneau met Friday morning in Toronto with private sector economists, who provide the Finance Department with forecasts that underpin budget assumptions in areas like economic growth.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies