OTTAWA — A new report says last year's federal budgetary shortfall was smaller than the government predicted last spring.
The parliamentary budget officer projects Ottawa's 2016-17 shortfall was $2.1 billion smaller than forecast.
The report says the improved deficit figure was due in large part to lower-than-expected expenses booked for the Liberals' infrastructure investment program.
The independent budget office projects the final 2016-17 shortfall at $21.4 billion, although the government's March prediction was $23.5 billion.
A preliminary Finance Department analysis of the federal books in May estimated that, after accounting for year-end adjustments, Ottawa ran a deficit last year of about $23 billion.
Looking at this year, the budget watchdog is predicting a shortfall of $24.8 billion — which is essentially in line with the federal 2017-18 deficit forecast of $24.4 billion.