Manitoba projects deficit close to $2B, increase partly due to Hydro losses

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government says the deficit has increased again, due in part to losses at Manitoba Hydro, a tax cut and health−care collective agreements.

Finance Minister Adrien Sala says the deficit for the fiscal year ending March 31 is expected to be just under $2 billion.

That is up from the $363 million originally predicted in last year’s budget and higher than the $1.6 billion that was part of a fiscal update in December.

The province says dry weather and low water levels have turned an expected profit at Manitoba Hydro into a $190−million loss.

Sala says the NDP government is also dealing with wage increases in collective agreements in the health sector, which were not accounted for by the former Progressive Conservative government before last October’s election.

The deficit is also being increased by the NDP’s decision in January to temporarily suspend the provincial fuel tax for at least six months — a move that is to cost the treasury about $82 million in the first three months.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 22, 2024.

The Canadian Press