Archived - Harper Government to Propose Balanced Budget Legislation

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Minister of Finance says it is time to enshrine long-standing fiscal prudence into law

April 8, 2015 – Toronto, Ontario – Department of Finance

Finance Minister Joe Oliver today confirmed the Government’s plan to introduce balanced budget legislation aimed at enshrining in law its successful and prudent approach to fiscal policy.

A sound fiscal position is crucial to ensuring ongoing economic growth and job creation over the longer term. Maintaining balanced budgets and low and declining debt levels ensures taxpayer dollars are used to support important social services, such as health care, rather than paying interest costs, instills confidence in consumers and investors and keeps taxes low.

The proposed legislation would define concrete actions to be taken in the event of a deficit and require specific timelines for a return to balanced budgets.

This proposed legislation confirms the Harper Government’s ongoing commitment to responsible fiscal management by ensuring ongoing balanced budgets in normal economic times, while preserving the Government’s ability to take action in the event of a recession.

Quick Facts

  • Since 2006, the Government has proven its commitment to responsible fiscal management. In the lead-up to the Great Recession, it paid down over $37 billion in debt, contributing significantly to Canada’s low net debt position.
  • This enabled the Government to implement the stimulus phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, which provided a much-needed boost to the Canadian economy during the recession, without leaving the country in a vulnerable fiscal position.
  • In the wake of the crisis, the Government implemented a concrete plan to return to balanced budgets, as the economy recovered, by 2015.
  • Economic Action Plan 2015 will enshrine in law this successful and prudent approach to fiscal planning by introducing balanced budget legislation.


"Under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, our Government understands that balancing the budget is the only way to keep taxes low and to provide direct benefits to hard-working Canadians and their families. We are committed to our low-tax plan and assuring families that the programs they depend on will be there for them in the future. We believe that Ottawa is perfectly capable of doing what families have to do every day. That means setting priorities and making choices. We will propose that if a Finance Minister posts a deficit outside of extraordinary circumstances, an automatic operating freeze would go into effect. The salaries of Ministers and Deputy Ministers would be reduced by 5%. Our Government will balance the budget and continue to ensure that hard-working Canadian families have more money in their pockets, right when they need it most."

- Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance

Media Contacts

Melissa Lantsman
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Finance

Stéphanie Rubec
Media Relations
Department of Finance

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