According to the latest accounting from the Department of Finance, Ottawa recorded a surplus of $1.5 billion in February, compared to a deficit of $600 million a year earlier.
Revenues in February grew 5.2 per cent, while program spending shrank 3.6 per cent. It's the second month in a row Ottawa has logged a surplus.
For the year to date, the Finance Department report shows the deficit is half the size it was a year ago.
The deficit for the first 11 months of the 2011-2012 fiscal year stood at $14.5 billion, compared to a $28.3-billion deficit for the same period a year earlier.
The rapidly shrinking deficit means that even after year-end adjustments, Ottawa is well on its way to meeting its target of a $24.9-billion deficit for 2011-2012.
The federal books have improved mainly because revenue _ especially from personal and corporate income taxes _ was on the rise over the past 11 months.
At the same time, Ottawa cut spending. Program expenses for the first 11 months of the year were down $4 billion, or 1.9 per cent, from the same period in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
That's because employment insurance benefit payments slid by $2 billion, or 11.2 per cent, and spending on infrastructure has dwindled as the government wound down its stimulus plan.