UPDATE 1-Canada finance minister sets mid-morning Thursday announcement
(Adds more details on spokeswoman's comments, background on possible topics)
TORONTO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is set to make an announcement on Thursday morning that will be "of substance," a spokeswoman said, without providing details.
Flaherty is expected to speak at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) at the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, the Department of Finance said.
There are several subjects Flaherty could address.
One item currently at the top of his agenda is an expected agreement with the United States on a tax law known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which would force Canadian banks to report to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service information about accounts held by U.S. citizens.
Flaherty and the U.S. Treasury have been working on an alternative agreement that would allow financial institutions to provide information to Canadian authorities rather than directly to the IRS. Four other countries have already made similar arrangements with Washington.
"We believe we are close to agreement and we are hopeful that we'll be able to announce further details in the near future," a spokeswoman from the Department of Finance told Reuters in an email on Friday.
Flaherty is also overseeing the sale of the government's remaining shares in General Motors Corp, acquired in 2009 as part of a bailout. But such a transaction would likely be announced after the markets close.
There has been much speculation in the past year that Flaherty would step down due to health concerns. He suffers from a rare skin disease and takes powerful steroid medication that makes him appear red-faced and weak.
However, Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed Flaherty in his job as finance minister in a July 15 cabinet shuffle and Flaherty himself has vowed to stay on the job until he eliminates the federal government's budget deficit. (Reporting by Julie Gordon and Louise Egan; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Maureen Bavdek)