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Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard speaks at the legislature, in Quebec City, on March 9, 2021.Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard says he will table his third budget on March 25.

Girard told reporters today the budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year will also include an accounting change sought by the auditor-general that will increase the province’s net debt by $12.4-billion.

The minister says the change relates to accounting norms regarding transfer payments and had been requested by the auditor-general since 2013.

Auditor-general Guylaine Leclerc told a legislative committee in February she thought the province had been underestimating its debt by $12-billion, adding that the situation was akin to someone receiving a credit card bill and saying the minimum payment is all they owe.

Quebec’s Finance Department had estimated the province’s gross debt at $220.8-billion by March 31, or 50.5 per cent of GDP.

Girard’s November economic update projected a $15-billion deficit for 2020-21 and a 6 per cent drop in GDP.

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