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Saskatchewan providing first COVID-19 deficit update, future outlook

Saskatchewan Finance Minister Donna Harpauer takes questions from reporters before releasing the province's budget at Saskatchewan's Legislative Building in Regina on Monday, June 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor.
Saskatchewan Finance Minister Donna Harpauer takes questions from reporters before releasing the province's budget at Saskatchewan's Legislative Building in Regina on Monday, June 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor. Mark Taylor / The Canadian Press

The Saskatchewan government will provide its first update on the size of a budget deficit it says is a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s also the last time residents will get a look at the government’s books before voters go to the polls in a general election this October.

Read more: Saskatchewan confident in economic recovery, outlined in 2020-21 provincial budget

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer will deliver the first quarter results for the 2020-21 fiscal year —including the updated deficit number — on Thursday.

Premier Scott Moe’s government delivered a provincial budget in June that projected a $2.4-billion deficit it says was a result of the economic shutdowns from the health crisis.

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Moe’s office says Thursday’s update will factor in the latest budget figures for the Ministry of Health and the $40 million taken from its COVID-19 emergency fund to pay for supplies needed to reopen schools.

Read more: Saskatchewan government reports $319M deficit in 2019-20 fiscal year

The update will also spell out the government’s economic and fiscal outlook for the years ahead until 2024-25 — something left out of the June budget.

Finance officials said at the time that there was too much economic uncertainty to include future years’ forecasts.

But the Opposition NDP didn’t buy it, accusing Moe of hiding plans to hike taxes and cut spending in order to get out of the red, if re-elected.

Saskatchewan voters head to the polls on Oct. 26.

With a file from Global News

Click to play video 'Saskatchewan unveils 2020-21 budget, includes $16.1 billion in spending despite $2.4B deficit' Saskatchewan unveils 2020-21 budget, includes $16.1 billion in spending despite $2.4B deficit
Saskatchewan unveils 2020-21 budget, includes $16.1 billion in spending despite $2.4B deficit