2011 Ontario Budget: Chapter I: Ontario's Plan for Prosperity
Section B: Managing Responsibly


  • The 2010–11 deficit is projected to be $3 billion lower than forecast in the 2010 Budget.
  • This is the second consecutive year that total expense is expected to come in lower than forecast in the Budget.
  • This Budget builds on the government’s record of success in finding savings. Initiatives announced in this Budget and since December 2010 would help realize savings of nearly $1.5 billion across government over the next three fiscal years.
  • The government will determine whether the current ServiceOntario delivery model delivers the best value and service to Ontarians.
  • The government will instruct its major agencies to deliver efficiencies of $200 million by 2013–14.
  • Funding for executive offices of specific transfer payment recipients will be reduced permanently by 10 per cent over two years. This policy will also be put in place for major government agencies.
  • The size of the Ontario Public Service (OPS) will be reduced by an additional 1,500 positions between April 2012 and March 2014. This is in addition to the five per cent reduction in the size of the OPS announced in the 2009 Budget.
  • In the shorter term, the government will seek opportunities to consolidate a number of functions and organizations to reduce costs and improve services in areas such as prisons and children’s aid societies.
  • To provide advice on reforms that would help accelerate its plan to eliminate the deficit while protecting education and health care, the government will establish a Commission on Broader Public Sector Reform.


The McGuinty government has a proven track record of prudent fiscal management. It eliminated the $5.5 billion deficit it inherited and delivered three balanced budgets. Then the recession hit.

The government chose to lessen the recession’s impact on Ontarians and to protect education and health care. As a result, the Province now has a deficit.

Returning to a balanced budget requires significantly reduced growth in program expense. To help achieve this goal while sustaining economic growth and protecting education and health care will require accelerating fundamental reforms to the way government does business.

Other approaches, such as arbitrary, across-the-board reductions, would require deep cuts to education and health care, which would hurt Ontario families and could cost more in the long run.

Ontario’s Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth, which includes tax cuts for people and business, is helping Ontario become more competitive within Canada and internationally — leading to investment and jobs.

New major tax cuts would either delay Ontario’s deficit reduction plan or jeopardize gains in education and health care.

For example, as indicated in Table 16 of Chapter II, every one percentage point of Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) raises approximately $3 billion of provincial revenue each year. Should an HST rate reduction of this magnitude be undertaken, expense would need to be cut by the same amount to meet existing fiscal targets. Choosing a $3 billion tax reduction over protecting vital public services would be equivalent to:

  • laying off about 33,000 teachers;
  • reducing the number of physicians by approximately 12,000;
  • eliminating funding for over 37,000 nursing positions;
  • cutting funding for over 62,000 out of 77,800 beds in long-term care homes; or
  • eliminating financial assistance provided through Ontario Works.

The government will take further action to manage expenses, increase productivity and improve service delivery by:

  • identifying nearly $1.5 billion in planned savings across government over the next three fiscal years through initiatives announced in this Budget and since December 2010;
  • determining whether the current ServiceOntario delivery model delivers the best value and service to Ontarians;
  • instructing major agencies to deliver efficiencies of $200 million by 2013–14;
  • permanently reducing funding for executive offices of specific transfer payment recipients by 10 per cent over two years. This policy will also be put in place for major government agencies;
  • reducing the size of the OPS by an additional 1,500 positions between April 2012 and March 2014. This is in addition to the five per cent reduction in the size of the OPS announced in the 2009 Budget;
  • closing underutilized prisons in Owen Sound, Walkerton and Sarnia, and partial closure of Toronto West Detention Centre; and
  • cancelling the construction of the Toronto West Courthouse, resulting in appropriation savings of $181 million over the next three years.

Investments in education, health care and economic growth are more affordable because of the steps taken to find efficiencies and obtain better value for money across government.

Delivering Better Value for Money

Since 2003, the government has modernized the delivery of public services, created administrative efficiencies, and improved accountability and transparency to achieve better value for money.

  • In the 2004 Budget, the government committed to achieving a savings target of $750 million by 2007–08. In the 2007 Budget, the government reported savings of $806 million — exceeding its original target.
  • In the last five months of 2008–09, new expenditure management initiatives saved an additional $111 million.
Table 2    Highlights of Ontario’s Expenditure Management Achievements
($ Millions)
Description Results
Program Review Announced in 2004 Budget
Supply Chain and Transaction Services — More streamlined purchasing process, vendor rebates and new vendors of record 200
Information and Information Technology — Consolidation of desktop management, rationalization of common services and applications across the Ontario Public Service, and reduced long-distance telephone costs 100
Accommodation Savings Review — Reduced accommodation costs by better alignment with needs and retrofitted government buildings to use less energy 50
Revenue Savings — Improved collection of the government’s accounts receivable and more efficient management of government revenues 57
Salary and Wage Pressures Absorbed — Ministries have realized sufficient savings from program review to absorb costs 366
Ministry Efficiencies: Absorbing Inflationary Costs — Such as increased fuel and electricity 18
Central Agency Review/Integration — Integration of central agencies and streamlined decision-making 15
Reported Savings in 2007 Budget 806
New Expenditure Management Initiatives Implemented in
2008 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review
Including reduced travel and consulting costs, freezing government vehicle purchases, freezing the government’s real estate footprint and leasehold improvements, and green office savings
Reported Savings in 2009 Budget 111


As a share of the economy, the Ontario government’s program spending in the 2010–11 fiscal year was the third lowest among Canadian provinces.

In 2008–09, Ontario’s spending per capita on general government services, including administration, was $134 per person. This is the second lowest among the provinces and 28 per cent below the $186 average per person spent across all provincial governments.

Chart 8: Bar Graph: Government Spending Per Capita, 2008-09


The government’s realistic and responsible plan to balance the budget is working. Savings initiatives include:

  • extending the freeze on pay for Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) from one to three years;
  • freezing the compensation structures of non-bargaining political and legislative staff, as well as all non-bargaining employees in the broader public sector (BPS) and OPS for two years. The fiscal plan provides no funding for incremental compensation increases for the first two years of any future collective agreements. As a result of the government’s approach, provincial public-sector settlement trends have fallen since the 2010 Budget to below the averages in both the private sector and municipal public sector;
  • slowing the pace and reducing the scope of some capital projects in the 2010 Budget, expected to result in more than $5 billion in appropriation savings and reduced borrowing over five years;
  • transferring responsibility for the collection of sales and corporate taxes to the federal government. The federal administration of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) will save the Province approximately $100 million annually in compensation and overhead by 2014–15. The transfer of Ontario corporate income tax collection to the federal government will result in $50 million in annual administrative cost savings to the Province. This also provides businesses with annual compliance cost savings of over $500 million from a single HST administration and more than $135 million from a single corporate tax administration; and
  • continuing a comprehensive review of all government programs and services, with over $260 million in potential savings identified in the 2010 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review.

In addition, consulting expenses have been reduced by 50 per cent since 2002–03.

In 2010–11, the projected deficit is $3 billion lower than forecast in the 2010 Budget. This is the second consecutive year that total expense is expected to come in lower than forecast.

Recently Announced Measures

In December 2010, the Minister of Finance announced additional measures to reduce waste, eliminate duplication, strengthen oversight and find more savings. Measures announced since then include:

  • exceeding the five per cent target for the reduction of the number of classified agencies. A number of agencies that have overlapping functions or whose functions could either cease to exist or be performed more efficiently by other means would be eliminated or merged;
  • the proposed merger of Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Ontario Realty Corporation (Ontario Realty Corporation) would save an estimated $5 million annually;
  • legislation is being introduced to eliminate unnecessary perks in the BPS;
  • the Province will discontinue both the Premier’s Discovery and Catalyst Awards, saving close to $2.5 million annually;
  • over the next two years, the Province is saving $15.6 million by reducing paper and office equipment — eliminating more than 15,000 printers and computer servers, saving $8 million; cutting paper usage by 50 per cent, saving $7 million; and centralizing and reducing the number of office fax machines, saving $640,000;
  • better use of technology and tighter rules have reduced the need for government employees to travel, saving $30 million and 22,500 hours of travel time last year, and another $10 million this year; and
  • the government is making online services more efficient by reducing the number of websites while improving online access. The government reviewed more than 200 websites and will eliminate or merge over 65 sites by March 2012, saving $1.3 million over the next two years.

Classified Agency Review

The McGuinty government recently announced plans to close or merge 14 classified government agencies. These planned closures and mergers will surpass the government’s original target of a five per cent reduction in the overall number of classified agencies. Classified agencies with overlapping functions or whose functions could either cease to exist or be performed more efficiently by other means will be proposed to be eliminated.

The proposed merger of Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and the Ontario Realty Corporation (Ontario Realty Corporation) into one agency would save an estimated $5 million annually. In addition, the corresponding transfer of the assets resulting from the merger of Stadium Corporation of Ontario Limited with the new IO/Ontario Realty Corporation entity would result in $4.2 million in one-time savings being put towards the Province’s debt. The new entity would also be charged with disposing of the real estate assets currently owned by the Stadium Corporation, with a view to maximizing the return to taxpayers.

To effect this merger, the government will propose legislation to amalgamate IO, Ontario Realty Corporation and the Stadium Corporation of Ontario Limited into a new Ontario Infrastructure and Lands Corporation. New legislation and complementary legislative amendments would clarify the responsibilities of the Minister of Energy, Minister of Government Services and Minister of Infrastructure. Consequential amendments would also be made to a number of other statutes and regulations.

New Measures

$1.5 Billion in Additional Savings Planned Over Three Years

This Budget builds on the government’s record of success in finding savings. Initiatives announced in this Budget and since December 2010 would help realize savings of nearly $1.5 billion across government over the next three fiscal years. These savings are planned in three key areas: operational efficiencies and consolidation; streamlining programs; and further efficiencies in the health care system.

Table 3
Ontario’s Savings Strategies, 2011–12 to 2013–14
($ Millions)
Ministry Description Savings
Operational Efficiencies and Consolidation
Across Government Direct operating expense savings 271
Across Government Enterprise-wide Information and Information Technology savings 36
Across Government Capital project savings 14
Major Agencies Agency efficiencies 200
Infrastructure Agency Consolidation Merging Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and the Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC). 10
Community Safety & Correctional Services Prison modernization 16
Children and Youth Services Consolidation of children’s aid societies 9
Streamlined Programs
Research and Innovation Streamlining research talent and business support programs 76
Attorney General Service efficiencies 20
Efficiencies in the Health Care System
Community and Social Services Savings in the Ontario Drug Benefit program resulting from existing drug system reforms 249
Health and Long-Term Care Expansion of bariatric surgeries, reducing the need to fund treatments provided out of country. 21
Health and Long-Term Care Proposed changes to improve alignment of funding for out-of-country services with services delivered in Ontario. 86
Health and Long-Term Care Evidence-based management of health care spending and further savings from prescription drugs 455
Total Savings   1,463
Note: Numbers may not add due to rounding.

ServiceOntario — Putting Ontario’s Families and Businesses First

ServiceOntario is a one-stop delivery network that provides Ontarians with fast, easy access to government information and services including registrations, certifications and licensing. Services can be accessed online, in person, at kiosks and by phone. ServiceOntario relies on a public/private service delivery model, with approximately two-thirds of delivery through private-sector partners.

Ontarians expect fast, friendly and easy access to government services and information. Key ServiceOntario accomplishments since its creation in 2006 include:

  • introduction of money-back guarantees for online birth, marriage and death certificates, with a success rate of 99.8 per cent last year. ServiceOntario is also expanding its ability to offer guarantees on other government products;
  • fully electronic land registration services and searches;
  • introduction of a federal–provincial single business number and integration of federal corporations filings with provincial returns;
  • launch of an Integrated Business Info Line Contact Centre together with Industry Canada;
  • integrated centres for the renewal of health card and driver’s licence services, and extended health card services to rural and remote communities; and
  • introduction of online publication orders with a money-back service guarantee.

ServiceOntario has increased overall customer satisfaction from 75 per cent in 2008 to 92 per cent in 2010. Ontario is now a North American leader in offering service guarantees for basic transactions.

The Province is dedicated to moving forward to ensure that ServiceOntario remains a leader when it comes to government service delivery and that it has the tools to stay ahead. There is significant opportunity for new investment and expansion into new ways of doing business, which will require attracting new sources of investment.

To build on the accomplishments of ServiceOntario and achieve even greater service and value, the Province will:

  • explore alternative service delivery models, including leveraging private-sector investments through a competition; and
  • explore opportunities to expand ServiceOntario’s one-stop delivery network to other lines of business, including delivering services on behalf of other governments through partnerships.

Ontario does not assume that the status quo is the best and only option. The current model for ServiceOntario as a government model of service delivery will be tested against the private sector.

As part of this process, the government will utilize Infrastructure Ontario’s public- and private-sector expertise in expanding and renewing public assets, and build on the lessons of successful partnerships to date.

In the coming months, the government will engage its partners in other levels of government and the private sector about future opportunities for additional service delivery and partnerships. The results will be tabled with the Minister of Government Services in time for consideration as part of the 2012 Budget.

ServiceOntario money-back guarantees
  • Regular online 15 business days service for birth, marriage or death certificates (three product guarantees).
  • Premium online five business days service for birth, marriage and death certificates (three product guarantees).
  • Regular online two business days service guarantee for electronic Master Business Licences.
  • Regular online six business days service guarantee for government publications ordered online through ServiceOntario (customers may be eligible for a refund of up to $100 if guaranteed service levels are not met).

Since 2006, ServiceOntario has introduced money-back service guarantees for selected online services such as birth, marriage and death certificates and government publication orders. In order to enable ServiceOntario to continue to extend service guarantees to select online services, the government proposes to amend the Ministry of Government Services Act. The proposed amendment would allow ServiceOntario to provide guarantees for services provided to the public on behalf of other government ministries.

Agency Efficiencies

Major agencies such as the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation return dividends to the Province that help protect health care and education. The government and all Ontarians expect the operations of these major agencies to be as efficient as possible to maximize returns. Accordingly, the government will instruct its major agencies to deliver efficiencies of $200 million by 2013–14.

Executive Office Reduction

About three-quarters of the Province’s budget is transfer payments. Some of the largest transfers go to hospitals, school boards, universities and colleges in the BPS.

Reducing the growth of executive office costs across the public sector is a prudent measure to ensure that Ontarians are receiving maximum value.

The government will permanently reduce funding for executive offices of specific transfer payment recipients by 10 per cent over two years. This policy will also be put in place for major government agencies.

Further Reducing the Size of the Ontario Public Service

In the 2009 Budget, the government committed to reducing the size of the OPS by five per cent, or approximately 3,400 full-time employees, over a three-year period by March 31, 2012, through attrition and other measures. The government is on track to meet this target. The size of the OPS will be reduced by an additional 1,500 positions between April 2012 and March 2014.

Toronto West Courthouse

To help manage the pace of infrastructure spending, the government is cancelling construction of the Toronto West Courthouse, which was scheduled to start construction in 2012. This will result in appropriation savings of $181 million over the next three years.

Reforming Public Service Delivery

Eliminating the deficit while protecting education and health care will require fundamental reforms to the way government does business. Government must enhance efficiency, improve systems, provide different incentives, find new sources of value and pursue innovation.

Reform is about achieving better value for money through improved efficiencies and greater productivity. It is about protecting high service levels while putting government finances on a sustainable path.

Existing assumptions and traditional models must be revisited and subjected to scrutiny and new approaches. Just because a government department is delivering a program or service today does not mean it should deliver that program or service in the future.

The government will focus on outcomes and results as opposed to how programs and services are delivered.

"Governments should apply a ’transformative lens’ to the choices they face, choosing those investments that are likely to transform the way government works so as to ensure fiscal sustainability over the medium- and long-term."

Matthew Mendelsohn et al., "Shifting Gears: Paths to Fiscal Sustainability in Canada," Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation and School of Public Policy and Governance, 2010

This approach is different from across-the-board program cuts, which would reverse the significant gains in education and health care achieved over the past several years and undermine the foundations of the Province’s long-term economic prosperity. Experiences in Canada and around the world have also shown that deep, across-the-board cuts have ultimately proven unsustainable and have increased costs in the long run.

"Ontario’s residents saw first hand in the 1990s how severe cutbacks in health spending can drive down the quality of — and confidence in — the health care system. It ultimately took more than a decade of massive investments by the Ontario and federal governments to repair much of the damage."

Don Drummond and Derek Burleton, "Charting a Path to Sustainable Health Care in Ontario: 10 Proposals to Restrain Cost Growth Without Compromising Quality of Care," TD Economics Special Reports, 2010.

Ontarians have a right to expect their government to lead the way in improving productivity. The government must be certain that it has done everything to embrace innovation and unlock value wherever it can be found.

"Across the board’ cuts and freezes that affect programs and services in an undifferentiated way have significant perverse effects. Such cuts erode the quality of public services, reduce the quantity of available services for the same level of taxpayer contribution and affect morale in the Public Service. Over time, they erode citizens’ confidence in government, in the public sector and in public organizations."

Jocelyne Bourgon, “Program Review: The Government of Canada’s Experience Eliminating the Deficit, 1994–1999, A Canadian Case Study,” The Centre for International Governance Innovation, 2009.

Unlike program cuts, reform cannot be achieved overnight. Reform is a long-term process — one that requires strong partnerships and a fundamental belief in vital, high-quality services for the public. The McGuinty government has a proven record in these important elements of reform.

"In our work with governments and public institutions around the world, we have seen incontrovertible evidence that dramatic improvements in performance and productivity can come about when governments make thoughtful, disciplined operational changes."

Hans Arnum et al., “Government’s Productivity Imperative,” McKinsey & Company, 2009

To provide advice on reforms that would help accelerate its plan to eliminate the deficit while protecting education and health care, the government will establish a Commission on Broader Public Sector Reform. Building on reforms already underway, and on the approach to enhanced public service delivery laid out in this Budget, the Commission will examine long-term, fundamental changes to the way government works. The Commission’s work will include exploring which areas of service delivery are core to the Ontario government’s mandate, which areas could be delivered more efficiently by another entity and how to get better value for taxpayers’ money in the delivery of public services.

The Commission will report to the Minister of Finance in time to inform the development of the 2012 Budget. The Commission will not make recommendations that would increase taxes or lead to the privatization of health care or education.

In the shorter term, the government will accelerate its efforts to make public services more effective and improve value for money by consolidating programs, services and back-office functions; developing new ways to deliver programs; and optimizing the value that exists within Ontario’s public sector.

While the Commission does its work, the government will move ahead with measures to make public services more effective and to improve value for money.

The government will:

  • consolidate programs and services to reduce overlap and duplication;
  • develop new ways to deliver programs; and
  • seek to unlock the value of physical and intellectual assets.

1. Consolidation

Overlap and duplication of functions are problems in any organization, but they are especially prevalent in large and diverse ones. Overlap and duplication create unnecessary costs and make it more difficult for people to navigate the system of services. Integrating or consolidating these functions helps reduce costs and improve services, freeing up funds to reinvest in front-line services and reduce the deficit.

Progress to Date

  • Retail sales and corporate tax administration: By harmonizing Ontario’s corporate and retail sales taxes with federal taxes, the Province is on track to save $150 million per year and Ontario businesses are realizing compliance cost savings of more than $635 million per year.
  • Shared services: Shared services models have successfully consolidated services such as information and information technology (I&IT), human resources, procurement and corporate financial systems across the OPS. For example, Ontario Shared Services provides enterprise-wide employee and business support services to the OPS, resulting in savings of $227 million and a 24 per cent reduction in staffing levels.
  • Agency clustering: The government has strengthened agency accountability, efficiency and oversight by creating two new agency clusters of Adjudicative Tribunals under the Ministry of the Attorney General.

New Initiatives

The government will seek new consolidation opportunities in:

  • Collections: A number of different and separate collections functions exist within the OPS. The government is proposing to move towards a more coordinated and centralized collections function within the Ministry of Revenue to reduce costs and enhance collections.
  • Audits and special investigations: The Ministry of Revenue operates a comprehensive compliance audit function for 11 tax statutes. The ministry has also provided audit support to several other ministries. To enhance regulatory audit compliance within the OPS, the ministry is proposing to provide a coordinating audit/inspection support function to all ministries. In addition, the Ministry of Revenue is proposing to provide support to other ministries and BPS organizations where forensic data recovery and forensic accounting services are required.
  • Broader public-sector pensions: The BPS has about 70 smaller single-employer pension plans, many of which have fewer than 100 active plan members. The government will appoint a third party to pursue options for greater efficiencies, including the consolidation of plan administrative functions, pooling of assets for investment purposes and use of technology. The purpose of this review would be to achieve savings and help manage pension funding requirements.
  • Laboratories: The government currently has eight laboratories across six ministries, performing a variety of functions. The cost of these laboratory services is $54 million per year. While continuing to protect public safety, the government will take steps to better align laboratory services across several ministries, including consolidating common testing functions, pooling specialized procurements of supplies and equipment, and exploring facility consolidation.
  • Research: The Ontario government conducts research on a number of fronts. The government will create a specialized organization with a clear mandate to focus research activities on productivity growth in key sectors. This will better leverage private-sector investments and result in estimated cost savings of $3 million over three years.
  • Geographic information systems: The numerous geographic information system-related programs existing across 18 ministries will be explored for consolidation.
  • Benefits administration: The Province provides Ontarians with more than $20 billion a year in income-based benefits and tax relief through more than 40 programs, delivered with the support of the federal government, municipalities and BPS organizations. Multiple application processes make it difficult for some Ontarians to access these programs. To streamline client access to program information, the government has created a one-window portal where individuals can find information quickly and easily. The government is also investigating other changes to further improve benefits program delivery.
  • Children’s aid societies: There are currently 53 children’s aid societies in Ontario. The government has worked with the Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare to identify 21 children’s aid societies that could be consolidated, resulting in efficiencies, service delivery redesign and improved outcomes for children and youth. Efficiencies resulting from these consolidations are expected to grow to $9 million by 2013–14. This funding will be redirected to support front-line child welfare services.
  • Prison modernization: The government is constructing two new state-of-the-art facilities with modern features and advanced technologies that enhance public safety. The government will close underutilized prisons in Owen Sound, Walkerton and Sarnia, and partially close Toronto West Detention Centre. It is anticipated that this will reduce expenditures on the transferred inmates from the oldest facilities by more than 50 per cent, while achieving over $8 million in annual savings.
  • Imaging and data capture services: The Ministry of Revenue will work with ministries across the OPS to leverage its imaging and data capture services to improve and automate document-capture and transactional processing for their programs. This will reduce program costs; speed up the delivery of services to the public; increase secured access to documents electronically; and, for programs with approved record-retention schedules, reduce the size of the government’s office-space footprint by moving millions of paper files to secured electronic records.
  • Collective bargaining: There are nearly 4,000 collective agreements across the BPS. While local bargaining is an important way to achieve targeted solutions, negotiating such a large number of contracts attracts significant transaction costs and, in some cases, makes increased effectiveness and value for money more difficult to realize. The government has created a Labour Relations Secretariat that will work with stakeholders to explore moving to more coordinated bargaining in sectors where it is appropriate.
  • Environmental cleanup: Environmental cleanup is currently carried out through four ministries. Going forward, the Province will consolidate environmental cleanup activities. Key components of this initiative will include integrating funding for cleanup activities, establishing a single inventory of contaminated sites, and developing a risk-based approach to project prioritization.
  • Direct business support: The government has supported the growth of small, medium and large businesses in Ontario since 2003. Now that the government has fundamentally changed the cost structure for business through Ontario’s Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth, there is less need for direct business support. Over the coming years, the government will reduce direct business support while simultaneously moving towards a single window for direct business support programs across the government.

2. New Models of Delivery

One way to improve productivity is to open up the provision of government services to new forms of competition. Competition determines whether services could be delivered more efficiently and effectively by another entity, be it another level of government, a not-for-profit, a social enterprise or a private-sector organization. Just because a particular government department delivers a program today does not mean it should deliver it tomorrow. This is particularly true if another entity could deliver the program more efficiently and effectively, while maintaining high service levels. Through competition, the government expects to realize better customer service outcomes. Decisions will be based on a rigorous assessment of the impact on customer services and efficiencies to be achieved. The private sector would not necessarily be the delivery partner of choice.

"From society’s perspective, it does not matter what types of organizations created the value. What matters is that benefits are delivered by those organizations — or combinations of organizations — that are best positioned to achieve the most impact for the least cost."

Michael Porter and Mark Kramer, “The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value,” Harvard Business Review, 2011 No. BR1101, 62–77.

Progress to Date

  • Delivering smarter, faster and easier services — The government is delivering services such as telemedicine, newborn registration, forms repository, online vehicle registration renewals, tax remittances, park reservations and electronic business registrations more efficiently. A faster, smarter, more streamlined government-to-business system is made possible by the new user-friendly, online tool: ONe-Source.
  • Online services — The government has significantly increased the number and volume of services available online, including birth certificates, tax payments, vehicle registration stickers, Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) applications and drug benefits. In total, 99 per cent of OSAP applications, 99.8 per cent of Ontario Drug Benefit claims and 84.9 per cent of birth certificate requests are completed online.
  • Infrastructure Ontario — Infrastructure Ontario (IO) has brought more than 50 infrastructure projects to market (of which 16 have been completed), worth close to $21 billion in capital construction, using an innovative alternative financing and procurement model.

IO is recognized by international infrastructure organizations as being world leaders thanks to a diligent focus on budget, quality, schedule and investing wisely.

Anna Guy, "Infrastructure Ontario," The Canadian Business Journal, September 2010.

New Initiatives

The government will pursue opportunities for new models of service delivery in the following areas:

  • ServiceOntario: ServiceOntario is an innovative government organization that pioneered money-back service guarantees for government services. As outlined earlier in this chapter, the government will build on ServiceOntario’s accomplishments to achieve even greater service and value for Ontarians. The government will explore alternative service delivery models for ServiceOntario, including leveraging private-sector investments through a competition, and will explore opportunities to expand its one-stop delivery network to other lines of business, including delivering services on behalf of other governments through partnerships.
  • Court enforcement services: Currently enforcement officers perform duties including the seizure/sale of assets. The government will conduct an enforcement services review to determine the feasibility of other delivery agents performing enforcement-officer functions in the most efficient and effective manner.
  • Building on Infrastructure Ontario’s success: Building on IO’s track record and success at delivering infrastructure projects on time and within budget, the Province intends to expand the role and mandate of IO into new sectors and a broader range of projects. These changes will result in greater efficiencies and more savings for the Province.
  • Realignment of federal/provincial responsibilities: Fiscal constraints also make the case for further realignment of responsibilities between the provincial and federal governments. Disentangling areas of overlapping responsibility clarifies roles, enhances transparency and accountability, and generates savings and efficiencies. Realignment would also help avoid scenarios in which policy decisions at one level of government impose significant costs on another level of government.

Accordingly, Ontario will be calling on the federal government to enter into a realignment process with the Province, which would include the following elements:

  • devolve direct funding and responsibility for immigrant settlement programs to the Province;
  • devolve direct funding and responsibility for remaining labour-market development programs to the Province; and
  • transfer responsibility to the federal government for all inmates serving sentences of over six months.

The overall fiscal savings from any realignments would be apportioned, on an equitable basis, between the federal and provincial governments, for the benefit of Ontario taxpayers. Ontario needs a stronger federal partner for further discussion of realignment of responsibilities between the federal and provincial governments.

3. Unlocking Value Through New Partnerships

Since 2003, the government has strengthened public services and the economy by building new partnerships with key industries, other levels of government and First Nations, among others. Strong partnerships can also support the government’s reform agenda by helping to unlock new forms of value in Ontario’s public sector. The government’s goal continues to be to ensure that the value of physical and intellectual assets developed to serve Ontario taxpayers is being fully realized. The government remains open to new models of management where these models can be demonstrated to be in the long-term interest of Ontarians.

Progress to Date

  • Teranet — The Ontario government concluded an agreement to renew its long-standing business partnership with Teranet Inc. by extending Teranet’s exclusive licences to provide electronic land registration and writs services in Ontario. The Province received a $1 billion upfront payment, which has been used to reduce the Province’s debt and borrowing requirements. The Province will also, beginning in 2017, receive annual royalty payments from Teranet, which are estimated to be $50 million in 2017–18 and to grow in future years. In addition, the agreement provides for continued Provincial control over Teranet fees for statutory land registration and writs services, long-term investments in Ontario’s Electronic Land Registration System, and a performance framework that will ensure that the system remains modern and consistent with evolving industry standards.

New Initiatives

The government will seek to unlock value through new partnerships. Examples include:

  • Exporting Ontario Public Service excellence — In an increasingly competitive global economy, excellence in public services provides a significant competitive edge for jurisdictions. Countries such as China, India, Brazil and Russia are moving to strengthen their public services to be globally competitive. Ontario has built world-leading public service models that have considerable value to other jurisdictions. For example, Ontario’s education curriculum, in which taxpayers have invested heavily, has been recognized by the OECD and McKinsey & Company, among others, as world leading and is used around the world. Ontario taxpayers have invested in these intellectual property assets over time. The potential exists, through partnerships with private- and voluntary-sector entities, to generate revenues from these assets that could be used to protect critical public services for the benefit of all Ontarians.
  • Pursuing partnerships with social enterprise: Public-sector reform means finding new, innovative ways of delivering services. Social enterprise, which uses private markets to pursue public goals, aiming to blend social and economic value, presents an important opportunity for service delivery partnerships in an era of limited resources. In some cases, social enterprises may be able to deliver services more efficiently and effectively than government. Some view social finance investing as an area of significant potential growth, both in Canada and abroad. Social enterprises may also be able to offer new products and services that help reduce fiscal pressures on government. The government will consider opportunities to leverage social venture financing through innovative partnerships that can demonstrate cost savings while maintaining or enhancing service levels.

The Commission on Broader Public Sector Reform will support this vision of new partnerships and opportunities of exporting and monetizing public-sector value. It will do this through addressing fundamental questions on core service delivery mandates of the government and advising on areas that may be more efficiently delivered by other entities.