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About this Document The

About this Document The Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy (IFSD) is a Canadian think-tank sitting at the nexus of public finance and state institutions. Fiscal ecosystems include governments, legislatures, the public administration and other key actors and institutions in our political and economic life. This ecosystem, rooted in hundreds of years of political history and economic development, is composed of an intertwined set of incentives, public and private information and a complex and sometimes opaque set of rules and processes based on constitutional law, legislative law, conventions and struggles for power. The actors within this system depend on one another as well as the robustness and transparency of information and processes, all underpinned by a society’s standards of accountability. It is at this dynamic intersection of money and politics that the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy @uOttawa aims to research, advise, engage and teach. The IFSD has been funded by the Province of Ontario to undertake applied research and student engagement in public finance and its intersection with public administration, politics and public policy. The IFSD undertakes its work in Canada at all levels of government as well as abroad, leveraging partnerships and key relationships with organizations such as the World Bank, OECD, IMF and US National Governors Association. This forecast was prepared by Randall Bartlett, Chief Economist, and Kevin Page, President and CEO of the IFSD. This forecast was edited and designed by Jessica Rached. The final forecast and any errors or omissions rest solely with the IFSD. First Printing: February 2017 No. 17005, Vol. 2 1 Stewart Street, Suite 206 Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5 613-562-5800 x 5628 ifsd.ca | info@ifsd.ca

Federal Fiscal Forecast: Things Should Get Better Before They Get Worse Since the release of its Fall Economic Statement (FES) 2016 on November 1, 2016, the federal government’s planning environment has changed considerably (Government of Canada, 2016). As the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy (IFSD) pointed out in its January 2017 economic forecast, U.S. political uncertainty is paired with solid economic fundamentals both here at home and south of the border (Bartlett, 2017b). Given the uncertainty is political in nature, it is difficult to plan for all eventualities. There are no priors to point to for guidance. As a result, the IFSD’s fiscal forecast, much like its economic forecast, assumes a relatively benign planning environment. What is not benign, however, is the current interest rate environment, which is expected to prove somewhat more challenging than the Government of Canada (GOC) believed only a few short months ago. In addition, heated negotiations around proposed changes to the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) remain unresolved and the Finance Minister’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth has released more recommendations, some of which are likely to find their way into Budget 2017. Chart 1: IFSD and GOC Budget Balance Forecasts Source: Finance Canada, Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy. 3

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