Saskatchewan’s Finance Minister Kevin Doherty says the province’s budget remains on track at the first quarter.

“The Saskatchewan economy is performing well so far, and for the first time in two years is projected to post positive growth,” Finance Minister Kevin Doherty said in a news release. “We have more to accomplish, but at first quarter we are meeting our fiscal challenge by controlling spending and shifting away from over-reliance on volatile resource revenue.”

The province says a deficit of $684.7 million is still forecast, the same as in the 2017-2018 budget. The government predicts the first quarter revenue to increase by $42 million from the budget and the total expense is forecast to increase by $82 million.

The government is using part of the budget’s $300 million – about $40 million – to offset expense pressures. Another $125 million of that fund will be used to offset compensation savings that the government says will not be achieved this fiscal year.

“The reason we built a contingency into this year’s budget was to help address in-year pressures,” Doherty said. “We still have work to do to control government’s overall costs, including savings we are working hard to achieve in total compensation expense.”

The government says the province has also seen the third-highest growth among Canadian provinces in manufacturing sales, the third-highest growth in average weekly earnings, the third-highest growth in population and the second-highest growth in new vehicle sales.