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Taxpayers federation applauds Ontario government’s moves to save on travel, meals and hospitality

November 29, 2019
Taxpayers federation applauds Ontario government’s moves to save on travel, meals and hospitality

TORONTO, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is applauding the Ontario government’s plan to tighten restrictions on travel, meal and hospitality expenses for politicians, bureaucrats and government employees in the broader public sector that will save taxpayers $25 million per year.

“This is common sense, smart policy that is long overdue in Ontario,” said Jasmine Pickel, the interim Ontario director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “Politicians, bureaucrats and government employees are already well compensated. There’s no reason that the taxpayers who already pay their hefty salaries should also have to foot the bill for unnecessary trips and catering for their work meetings.”

This announcement comes as part of the Ontario government’s broader Smart Initiatives program announced earlier this year, which the CTF likewise applauded. These large scale projects will transform the way the government operates and save taxpayers money by increasing efficiencies.

The government has stated that these changes will generate savings of $25 million which represents a 34 per cent reduction on travel, meals and hospitality expenses including through:

  • Ensuring travel by air and rail uses the lowest fare available
  • Cancelling catering for cabinet committee meetings
  • Using video conferencing instead of frequent in-person meetings

“It’s a relief to see that the Ontario government is finally ending the wasteful practices that have long frustrated taxpayers,” said Pickel. “Whether it’s bureaucrats going on spending sprees at the end of the fiscal year or jumping on over-priced flights – taxpayers are tired of pinching pennies while government employees are flying high.”

A recent EY report revealed that had the former Liberal government merely kept spending in line with population growth, the province would have spent $331 billion less over 15 years. Instead, the government increased spending during that time by over $2,200 per person (in real terms).

“Successive Ontario governments have spent us into a $350-billion hole and the debt is still growing,” said Pickel. “It’s high time for bold action to turn the ship around in Ontario, and even though this is a small step – we’re encouraged that it’s a step in the right direction.”

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