Canada's finance minister doesn't believe the term austerity fits for his government's upcoming budget.

Instead, Jim Flaherty says prudence would be more descriptive of a budget that could see some departments chop spending by more than 10 per cent.

Flaherty is in Vancouver for pre-budget roundtable discussions with business and academic leaders.

All government departments were asked to come up with two plans of cutting five and 10 per cent, and Flaherty told reporters before the meeting that some departments could even face deeper cuts, while others would suffer less.

While 1.4 million Canadians are unemployed, Flaherty says now is not the time for "dangerous and risky" new spending schemes that will increase deficits and raise taxes.

The minister says the priority of the budget is to focus on jobs and economic growth while keeping in mind a balanced budget along with the economic uncertainty beyond our borders.