The Saskatchewan government's deficit for 2020-21 was $1.13 billion, $1.3 billion lower than projected.
The 2020-21 budget projected a deficit of $2.4 billion. The mid-year report released in November 2020 showed a projected improvement of $381.5 million from the budget.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Donna Harpauer released the year-end financial report.
"Our year-end financial statements show that Saskatchewan is in a much better fiscal situation than we anticipated as life and the economy start to get back to normal following the global pandemic," Harpauer said in a news release.
"Moving forward, our focus continues to be on protecting Saskatchewan people, investing in vital infrastructure such as highways, hospitals and schools and helping our economy grow and recover."
Total revenue: $14.52 billion, up $875 million or 6.4 per cent from budget.
Revenue down by 2.4 per cent from 2019-20.
Increases from government business enterprises and transfers for COVID-19 from the federal government.
Decreases from tax revenue and non-renewable resources.
Total expense: $15.65 billion, down $424 million o5 2.4 per cent lower than budget projection.
Decrease due to lower agricultural insurance claims.
Expense $444 million, or 2.9 per cent higher than 2019-20.
The government said increases due primarily to COVID-related expenses.
The province forecasted a record $2.6 billion deficit for 2021-22. Harpauer said $1.5 billion in expenses is being allocated to COVID-19 response.
She said indications from recent investment and project announcements from business have her hopeful for a "rapid recovery."
"We've seen very positive indicators of large investments coming into our province. So we're very optimistic that we can recover and that Saskatchewan will be strong and move forward."
Opposition says money from Ottawa 'propping up' budget
NDP deputy leader Nicole Sarauer said an influx in COVID-19 support from Ottawa is partly responsible for the deficit reduction
Sarauer said the government used the money from the federal government to "prop up their poor management."
"The reduced deficit is not a result of the Sask. Party's sound management, but a result of nearly $350 million in additional supports from the federal government that the Sask. Party sat on instead of investing to help people and small businesses during the pandemic."
Sarauer said the government's financial position was also helped by $550 million from Crown corporations, which was higher than projected at budget, and $110 million from non-renewable resource revenue "largely driven by higher oil prices."