Tom Osborne, Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, released the province’s annual Fiscal and Economic Update, which provides a snapshot of the province’s fiscal situation at the midway point of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018. The province’s projected deficit has been revised to $852 million from the original Budget 2017 forecast of $778 million.
Revenue has decreased by $78.8 million from the original budget forecast. Offshore oil royalties are the main cause of this decline, and are down $147 million largely due to lower price and a higher exchange rate during the first half of the year.
Expenses have held at $8.1 billion as projected in Budget 2017. Through zero-based budgeting, budget monitoring and attrition measures, core government departments have reduced expenses by $22 million, but agencies, boards and commissions have shown an increase of $18 million.
Several economic indicators are showing more positive results than expected at budget time. The outlook for real gross domestic product, household income and retail sales have all improved since budget time. On the other hand, the province is experiencing a lower than expected major project employment and a higher unemployment rate than was forecast at budget time.