Despite hearing the word ‘deficit” tossed around endlessly during the current election campaign, Canada’s Department of Finance has unexpectedly posted a $1.9 billion surplus for the 2014 to 2015 fiscal year.
Just one year ago, the federal government’s budget was deep in the red with a $5.2 billion deficit and previous forecasts for this year’s budget suggested the trend would continue with another $2 billion deficit for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015.
But stronger revenues helped to keep the books in the black with an increase of 3.9 per cent, totaling $282.3 billion. Spending slightly increased as well to a total of $280.4 billion, up $3.6 billion from the year before.
The federal debt to GDP ratio also remains low at 31.0, the lowest among the G-7 countries and less than half of the G-7 average.
The report, the Annual Financial Report of the Government of Canada, is good news for Stephen Harper’s re-election campaign and will likely provide much fodder for this week’s leader’s debate focused on the economy.
This is the first budget surplus to be reported since 2007.