2014 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review
Chapter III: Fiscal Outlook

Section A: Overview

The government is committed to balancing the budget by 2017–18 in a fair and responsible way. This approach will help protect the critical public services that support the well-being of Ontarians, while improving the fiscal sustainability of the province.

For five years in a row, the government has beaten the deficit targets it established after the 2008–09 global recession. In September, the Public Accounts of Ontario 2013–2014 reported that the deficit for 2013–14 was $10.5 billion, an improvement of $1.3 billion compared with the projection in the 2013 Budget.

Although the global economic environment remains challenging, there are signs that Ontario's economic expansion is gaining momentum in 2014, following weak growth in 2013.

Even though the current revenue outlook is lower than projected in the 2014 Budget, the government is committed to eliminating the deficit by 2017–18. The government projects deficits of $12.5 billion in 2014–15, $8.9 billion in 2015–16 and $5.3 billion in 2016–17, with a return to balance in 2017–18, consistent with the plan outlined in the 2014 Budget.

Interest on debt expense is currently forecast to be below the 2014 Budget estimate, which is helping to mitigate the decline in the revenue outlook. Projected program expense is essentially unchanged from the 2014 Budget, reflecting the government's ongoing commitment to manage spending and ensure every dollar counts.

The government is committed to putting the province and its people in a position to succeed by helping to spur growth and create new jobs. It has also taken important steps towards delivering on actions to eliminate the deficit that were outlined in the 2014 Budget. Together, these government priorities and progress on actions to eliminate the deficit will help the Province achieve the fiscal targets it set out in the 2014 Budget.

Should economic conditions persist that result in the Province's revenue outlook falling further below the 2014 Budget projection, the government will consider other tools, as necessary, to balance the budget by 2017–18. This would be done while continuing to make critical investments in the programs and services that people depend on, such as health and education.