Federal budget coming March 21

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has announced March 21 as the date for his spring budget. He has said there won't be big spending projects in the budget, due to declining government revenues caused by a sluggish economy.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has announced March 21 as the date for his spring budget. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will present a budget to Parliament on Thursday, March 21 at 4 p.m. ET, the minister announced Thursday.

Flaherty said jobs and the economy remain the government's top priority. Previously, he has acknowledged government revenues have been "significantly" affected by the sluggish economy, meaning, there won't likely be any new grandiose projects in the budget.

Instead, Flaherty is expected to use existing funds for any changes he wants to make — including reshaping a $2-billion-a-year skills training program currently run by the provinces.

Last week Flahery met with a group of private sector economic forecasters who advised him that economic growth in Canada was expected to be slower than had been predicted.

In response to a reporter's question, Flaherty said the economists "were a little more pessimistic for this year, and a little more next year."

"But it's an interim concern — it's not a long term concern in terms of real GDP growth," the minister said. "As you know, our target is to balance the budget in 2015, and we remain on target."

Flaherty delivered the budget date as he met at his department's offices with a group of student members of CIVIX, a charity that encourages young people to become active and engaged citizens.

Members of CIVIX had been encouraged to participate in a student budget consultation initiative to advise Flaherty on the federal budget. Flahery accepted a binder of proposals from students from Mont-Bleu secondary School and Toronto District Christian High School in Vaughan, Ont.

Flaherty said this is the first time the government has reached out to students for budget consulation, and over 5000 students had responded.