(Adds quotes from Morneau, background)
OTTAWA, March 7 Canada will release its next
federal budget on March 22, the finance minister said on
Tuesday, setting the stage for a fresh estimate of how big the
deficit will get as the Liberal government spends on
infrastructure to boost the economy.
Reviving growth after the economy was hit by lower oil
prices was a major plank of the Liberal's successful 2015
election campaign. The government has earmarked billions in
infrastructure spending, among other measures.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters that the budget
will extend past efforts to boost an economy that faces
headwinds including the potential renegotiation of the North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
In November's fiscal update, the government forecast a
budget deficit of C$25.1 billion ($18.7 billion) in fiscal
2016-2017. It did not forecast when the budget would be balanced
The government's spending blueprint, due to be released at 4
p.m. ET (2100 GMT) on March 22, will also focus on boosting
jobs, Morneau said.
"The budget will be very much about trying to increase jobs
in this country," said Morneau. "It will be about how we can
help Canadians to get the skills that they need in a dynamic and
Recommendations released last month by an economic advisory
group appointed by Morneau had suggested establishing a
non-government organization to operate as a laboratory for
($1 = 1.3417 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Andrea Hopkins and Leah Schnurr; Editing by
Bernard Orr and Richard Chang)