Program Review: The Government of Canada's Experience Eliminating the Deficit, 1994-1999 - A Canadian Case Study

September 10, 2009

Many governments relying on increased spending financed by large deficits to pull their countries out of recession will eventually face the challenge of restoring fiscal stability. Based exclusively on publicly available information, this report looks at the path the Government of Canada followed to improve the health of its public finances in the mid-1990s. Over a three-year period (1994-1997), Canada eliminated a sizable budgetary deficit. By 1998-99, all Program Review decisions were implemented. Canada ran consecutive surpluses until 2007-08. The report reviews historical financial data and examines the Program Review exercise of the mid-1990s, describing its development, process, methodology and machinery. It provides an overview of the main results and identifies lessons learned that may be of durable value in Canada and of interest to other countries as they work to restore fiscal stability in the future.

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