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Ontario’s new normal can’t be $16-billion deficits

Author: Jasmine Moulton 2021/02/11

Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021

Toronto, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling for a policy overhaul from the Ontario government to avoid unsustainable structural deficits following the release of a new economic and budget outlook report from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario.    

“Some temporary COVID-19 spending is reasonable, but this government can’t expect taxpayers to excuse ongoing $16-billion deficits with no end in sight,” said Jasmine Moulton, Ontario Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “This government must act now to find savings or current and future taxpayers will pay a hefty price.”

The FAO’s report, released today, projects a lower deficit for the 2020-21 fiscal year ($35.5 billion) than the outlook contained in the government’s budget released in November ($38.5 billion). However, the FAO’s report also forecasts that deficits will remain at around $16 billion as of 2024 and into the foreseeable future without policy changes.

“The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has called on the government of Ontario for years to implement innovative policy solutions such as charter school legislation to improve outcomes while decreasing costs,” said Moulton. “Now is the time to overhaul program delivery to improve value for all Ontarians.”

The FAO’s report also shows Ontario’s job numbers are still 405,600 below where they were in February of last year before the lockdowns began. Additionally, the report projects Ontario’s debt-to-GDP ratio will hit 50 per cent by 2025 on the current trajectory of spending.

“It’s irresponsible to gamble with Ontario’s financial health by banking on a hope and a prayer that interest rates will stay low forever,” said Moulton. “Ontario already spends more on interest payments than it does on colleges and universities, and the more we spend on interest, the less that’s leftover to deliver vital services or some much needed tax relief.”

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Jasmine Moulton

Ontario Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

p. 416-573-5458

e. [email protected]