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Quebec Raises Reserve Fund, Deficit Target for 2010

Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand boosted his deficit forecast for the current fiscal year as he set aside C$100 million ($99.6 million) more to cover unforeseen spending.

Bachand, who was speaking at a press conference in Quebec City, said the 2010-11 deficit for Canada’s second-most populous province is now projected to be C$4.6 billion, higher than the C$4.5 billion previously estimated. Quebec raised its budget contingency for the year to C$400 million from C$300 million, and also set aside C$300 million for 2011-12 and C$200 million for 2012-13.

“We are staying the course, but we are also increasing provisions out of prudence because of the economic uncertainty that exists in the U.S.,” Bachand said.

Quebec’s 2011-12 deficit will be C$3.2 billion, Bachand said today, compared with a C$2.9 billion projection in March. The 2009-10 deficit is estimated to be C$3.2 billion, C$1.1 billion less than earlier projected.

Bachand said the government now expects gross domestic product in the province to climb by 2.6 percent this calendar year, compared with a March forecast of 2.3 percent. Next year, the government’s forecast calls for growth of 2.2 percent, down from a March prediction of 2.6 percent.

Quebec expects its gross debt, which includes pension plan deficits, to rise to C$197.1 billion by March 2015, from C$163.3 billion this year, Finance Ministry documents show.

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