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OTTAWA, Nov 4 (Reuters) – Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, on Thursday projected a smaller budget deficit for the current fiscal year as stronger-than-expected economic growth helped boost tax revenues, a fiscal update showed.

The province forecast a budget deficit of C$21.5 billion ($17.3 billion) for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, compared with the C$32.4 billion deficit forecast in an update in August. The fiscal year began on April 1.

Stronger-than-expected U.S. and global growth, a resilient domestic economy and significant progress on COVID-19 vaccinations have resulted in faster projected economic growth in Ontario, the province said.

About 83% of Ontario’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, provincial data shows.

“The qualities that saw our province through the worst days of the pandemic… will see us to a brighter, more prosperous future,” Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy said in a statement.

The province, however, cut its growth forecast for 2021 to 4.3% from the 5% projected in August, citing more cautious projections from private sector economists. ($1 = 1.2438 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Fergal Smith in Toronto; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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