UPDATE 1-Ontario finance minister says 2014-15 deficit below forecast

Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:14pm EDT
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(Adds quote from speech)

TORONTO, March 31 (Reuters) - Ontario's 2014-15 budget deficit is now expected to come in at C$10.9 billion ($8.59 billion), below the provincial government's last forecast of C$12.5 billion, Finance Minister Charles Sousa said in a speech on Tuesday.

He also said the Canadian province, the country's most populous, was still on track to balance its budget by 2017-18.

"We are determined and disciplined to balance the books by 2017-2018," Sousa said in the prepared text of the speech. "Last year when I tabled our budget I said there would be a deficit of C$12.5 billion. We worked very hard and reduced that by C$1.6 billion dollars."

($1 = 1.2682 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Solarina Ho and Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Leslie Adler)