Canada tentatively backed on Thursday the International Monetary Fund's call for giving debt-burdened Greece and Spain more time to reduce their budget deficits.

The IMF said this week too much austerity, too quickly could make it harder for an economy to get out from under a heavy debt burden.

"I think it's certainly worth considering," Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters on a conference call from Tokyo when asked if he backed the IMF view.

"The challenge is the European economy is in recession, and there is some interest in trying to create some economic growth in the euro zone. Unemployment has become quite a significant issue, particularly in Greece," he said.

(Reporting by Louise Egan; editing by Mohammad Zargham)