Taxpayers Federation applauds Ontario government’s Smart Initiatives
TORONTO, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation applauds the government’s plan to modernize government operations and save taxpayer dollars, as announced by Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy.
“Smart isn’t often a word we use to describe government initiatives, but it was for this announcement and that’s a good thing for taxpayers,” said Jasmine Pickel, the CTF’s Interim Ontario Director. “Digitizing services, centralizing procurement, finding efficiencies and eliminating waste are indeed smart moves that will benefit everyone in the province.”
In his announcement speech, the Minister outlined plans for a variety of large-scale, multi-phased projects that will roll out across different government ministries with the goal of making government more efficient, streamlined, and easier to work with. Although the government did not provide a specific target for cost reductions, the overarching goal of the exercise is to reduce spending.
One example of a smart initiative that the minister highlighted was fully integrated procurement, which he projects will save an estimated $1 billion per year. Other examples included the government’s Digital First strategy, as well as transfer payment consolidation.
According to EY Canada’s line-by-line review, the compounded annual growth rate of government spending in Ontario (2.9 per cent) has far outstripped that of comparable provinces such as British Columbia (1.8 per cent) and Quebec (1.6 per cent). In real terms, spending increased by nearly $50 billion in the 15 years preceding 2018, which amounts to a spending increase of $2,226 per person.
“Spending has been increasing over the past 15 years, but services haven’t been getting any better,” said Pickel. “Instead of pouring more water into a leaking barrel, we’re pleased to see that the Ontario government is transforming the way it does business to become more efficient and cost-effective.”
Ontario’s debt has now surpassed $350 billion and it grows by over $45 million per day.
“It’s good to see Minister Bethlenfalvy bringing successful practices from the private sector to help transform the culture of government in this province,” said Pickel. “We’ll give credit where credit’s due, but we’ll continue to monitor the roll out of this initiative very closely to ensure the savings actually come to fruition.”
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Interim Ontario Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation