In 2014, the Canadian economy continued to grow despite a fragile and uncertain global economic environment. Since the end of the recession, Canada has achieved the highest real GDP growth rate amongst the G-7 countries. However, as a net exporter of crude oil, the Canadian economy is now challenged by a sharp decline in crude oil prices. Despite this unanticipated change, its non-energy exports and strong manufacturing sector should provide the resilience necessary to achieve the projected real GDP growth of 2 per cent in 2015 and 2.2 per cent in 2016.
The Government projects a return to a balanced budget with a projected surplus of $1.4 billion in 2015-2016, as compared to a deficit of $2.0 billion in 2014-2015. The focus of the budget remains on job creation, investment in public transportation and infrastructure and taxation relief initiatives. The notable steps introduced in the budget include support for Canadian families through the new Family Tax Cut and Universal Child Care Benefit enhancements, support for small businesses through the Small Business Job Credit and EI premium initiatives, as well as $5.8 billion of investments in infrastructure. These measures, amongst others, will work in tandem with the Government’s commitment to grow the budgetary surplus to $4.8 billion while reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio from 32.3 per cent to 25.5 per cent by 2019-20.