Federal deficit for past year 1.3 billion higher than estimated

OTTAWA – Ottawa says the federal deficit for fiscal 2011-12 has come in $1.3 billion higher than estimated.

The government’s final accounting on its finances shows the shortfall for the fiscal year ended March 30 was $26.2 billion, up from the $24.9-billion deficit it estimated.

That is still an improvement over the previous year’s $33.4-billion deficit and Ottawa continues to expect that this year’s shortfall will drop to $21.1 billion.

Four months into the current fiscal year, Ottawa’s deficit stands at $3 billion, well on pace to meet that target.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty cast the report in a positive light, saying it reflects the country’s sound economic and fiscal fundamentals.