NEWS

Jim Flaherty projects $3.7B surplus in 2015-16

11/12/2013 11:19 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:56 EST
The federal government is not only on track to balance the budget by 2014-15, it will also emerge with a surplus by the time Canadians head to the polls in 2015, says Finance Minister Jim Flaherty who is in Edmonton delivering the fall economic and fiscal update.

CBCNews.ca will carry the event live at 2:45 p.m. ET.

The government is projecting a deficit of $5.5 billion for 2014-15 with a projected surplus of $3.7 billion in 2015-16, that's compared to a deficit of $6.6 billion for 2014-15 and a budgetary surplus of $800 million in 2015-16, which Flaherty projected in the March budget.

The projected savings come from recent measures announced by the federal government such as freezing the Employment Insurance premium rate and reintroducing an operating freeze on departmental spending, which the government announced in the throne speech.

The freeze will apply for two years beginning in March 2014. The operating budget freeze is expected to generate savings of approximately $500 million in 2014-15 and $1.1 billion in 2015-16.

The federal government also updated its fiscal framework to account for revenues resulting from the sale of government assets.

The government divested its interests in 30 million common shares in General Motors. In addition, the government is expected to sell its assets in Ridley Terminals, a bulk coal terminal in B.C.

It is also considering selling the Dominion Coal Blocks, two parcels of Crown land in B.C. The potential gain from the sale of these assets is projected at $500 million in 2014-15 and $1.5 billion in 2015-16. The government deems these amounts to be "conservative" estimates.

The government is now projecting a deficit of $17.9 billion in 2013-14, down from the $18.9 billion deficit recorded earlier.

This projection takes into account $2.9 billion for disaster relief announced after the flooding in Alberta and the train derailment in Lac Megantic, Que.

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