What's this about?
In the 2014-15 fiscal year, the Government of Ontario’s deficit rose to $10.9 billion, increasing its net debt to $281.4 billion. As a result, nearly 9 percent of the province’s total spending went towards interest on its debt, more than what it spends on colleges, universities, and training programs for the unemployed, combined. In the near future, the debt will continue to grow and consume an ever-increasing proportion of government resources.
We are deeply concerned about the state of the province’s finances, which are a drag on business confidence and jeopardize the sustainability of our public services. Our goal is to provide government with solutions to getting the province’s fiscal house back in order.
The province must take major steps to eliminate the deficit and begin to pay down its debt, including:
- Transform government and save money by using the private sector to deliver services. Alternative Service Delivery (ASD) needs to be expanded in the health sector and replicated elsewhere where service quality can be improved and costs lowered.
- Adopt a formal policy on asset recycling. The Premier’s Council on Government Assets is a good start, but the government should adopt a broader policy that applies to more government assets and regularises the review process.
- Urge the federal government to close the $11 billion gap. Ontario continues to pay roughly $11 billion, or 1.9% of its GDP, more into the federation than what it gets back in terms of transfers and services.
- Tackle the underground economy to increase revenue. Ontario needs tougher penalties for noncompliance and a stronger focus on high-risk industries. The 2012 Drummond Commission estimated that strengthened compliance measures could yield over $500 million per year for the province.
For more information, read our report on Ontario’s debt and deficit.
Review our 2016 Pre-Budget Submission
to the Government of Ontario.