March 25, 2010
After three balanced budgets, the global recession caused Ontario, like other jurisdictions in Canada and around the world, to go into deficit. In response to the economic crisis, the government took action and made investments to stimulate the economy, helping families and businesses. It also made the choice to protect the public services that Ontarians value.
The global recession and these necessary investments have contributed to a projected deficit of $21.3 billion for 2009-10, an improvement of $3.4 billion from the forecast in the Fall 2009 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review.
While there are clear signs the Ontario economy has stabilized and recovery is taking shape, growth in the economy and revenues alone cannot bring the province back to balance.
A sustainable financial plan is essential to continue to provide the programs and services Ontarians value most. The 2010 Ontario Budget lays out a realistic and responsible plan to cut the provincial deficit in half in five years and eliminate it in eight years.
As the global recession took hold last year, the province introduced a number of measures to restrain its spending, including:
In the face of current fiscal challenges, the 2010 Budget is taking additional steps to find efficiencies and reduce the overall cost of government administration.
Compensation costs account for the majority of Ontario-funded program spending. Protecting services requires limiting compensation growth to direct scarce resources to service delivery.
As an immediate step, the government will introduce legislation that would:
In two years, these measures would help redirect up to $750 million towards sustaining schools, hospitals and other public services.
Going forward, the fiscal plan provides no funding for incremental compensation increases for any future collective agreements.
All existing collective agreements in the public sector will be honoured. As agreements are renegotiated, the government will work with transfer payment partners and bargaining agents to seek agreements of at least two years’ duration. These agreements should help manage spending pressures, protect public services that Ontarians rely on and provide no net increase in compensation.
The government’s prudent and responsible plan to manage expenditures will freeze internal administration costs at or below 2010-11 levels over the medium term.
To ensure the right balance between infrastructure priorities and reducing the deficit, the government will undertake a comprehensive review of capital to be completed before the end of 2010. Following this review, the government will launch a new 10-year capital plan in 2011.
In the current fiscal environment, the government has revised the scope and timing of some capital investments. To help manage infrastructure spending over the coming years, the government will:
In the Fall 2009 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, the government launched an enhanced expenditure management review to ensure that every dollar spent on service delivery is spent more effectively.
Building on this work, the government will continue with a comprehensive review of all government programs and services. The review will be overseen by Treasury Board and will ensure that the government’s resources are focused on delivering the programs and services that support:
The goal of the review is to move resources from low-priority areas to high-priority areas and to move forward the Open Ontario plan.
The McGuinty government provides a wide range of benefit programs to help Ontarians. In addition to improving administrative efficiencies, the government will also improve access to benefit programs. There are currently many ways to access these benefit programs and no central hub for information. The government will simplify access, making it easier for people to find information on benefit programs.
In transforming Ontario’s benefits systems, the government will:
Under the Open Ontario plan, the government is committed to improving the quality and accountability of the health care system. The 2010 Budget is proposing to:
Employment Ontario encompasses training and employment programs and services, and is currently being transformed to include a new one-stop service delivery model that will:
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For public inquiries call 1-800-337-7222