2012 Ontario Budget: Chapter II: Ontario's Economic Outlook and Fiscal Plan


Ontario′s Economy

  • Government-projected 2012 real GDP growth — 1.7 per cent.
  • Private-sector average projected 2012 real GDP growth — 1.9 per cent.
  • Government-projected 2013 real GDP growth — 2.2 per cent.
  • Private-sector average projected 2013 real GDP growth — 2.3 per cent.
  • Net new jobs created since October 2003 — 508,900.
  • Net new jobs created since recessionary low in June 2009 — 299,300.
  • The unemployment rate is projected to fall to 6.7 per cent in 2015.

Ontario′s Finances

  • 2011–12 deficit — $15.3 billion, $1 billion lower than forecast in the 2011 Budget.
  • 2011–12 deficit as a share of GDP is projected to be 2.4 per cent.
  • By maintaining a low rate of growth in spending and building on a record of overachieving deficit targets laid out in the 2010 and 2011 Budgets, the government will balance the budget by 2017–18.

Section A: Overview

TABLE 2.1 2012 Budget — Numbers at a Glance
Ontario's Economy: Provincial Finances:
Projected Real GDP Growth, 2012 1.7% 2012–13 Deficit Projection $15.2 billion
Avg. Private-Sector Growth, 2012 1.9% 2012–13 Revenue Plan $112.2 billion
Projected Real GDP Growth, 2013 2.2% 2012–13 Expense Plan $126.4 billion
Jobs since June 2009 299,300 2012–13 Reserve $1.0 billion
Jobs since October 2003 508,900 Accumulated Deficit-to-GDP Ratio (2003–04) 25.2%
Increase in Real GDP
(2011 above 2003)1
10.9% Accumulated Deficit-to-GDP Ratio (2011–12) 25.0%
Increase in Real Personal Disposable Income
(2011 above 2003)1
23.6% Deficit-to-GDP Ratio

1 2011 real GDP and real disposable income are Ontario Ministry of Finance estimates.

Ontario′s real GDP has fully recovered from the global recession of 2008–09. The recovery was supported by the strong action of the McGuinty government, a strong rebound in business investment, encouraged by Ontario′s Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth, and consumer spending. The pace of job creation since June 2009 is ahead of that of the United Kingdom, the United States and all the Great Lakes States. Ontario′s unemployment rate is expected to fall to 6.7 per cent in 2015 from a high of 9.4 per cent in June 2009. Over the next several years, growth in Ontario′s economy is expected to continue at a modest pace.

While a forecast of sustained modest growth is a reasonable basis for planning, Ontario faces a new economic reality that is expected to persist over the foreseeable future. In this increasingly challenging economic environment, Ontario cannot rely on economic growth alone to balance the budget. The government′s success in achieving its fiscal targets will depend even more on managing growth in expense. 

To meet the fiscal targets outlined in the 2011 Budget, the government is building on its track record of success with respect to transformation and expenditure management in a way that is fair, reasonable and balanced. Program spending growth will be held to an average annual rate of 1.0 per cent between 2011–12 and 2014–15. In fact, the fiscal action outlined in this Budget means that for every additional dollar in new revenue measures, the plan includes four dollars of expense measures to close the fiscal gap that would emerge if no new action is taken to control growth in Provincial expense.

The deficit for 2011–12 is now projected to be $15.3 billion — $1.0 billion lower than outlined in the 2011 Budget and an improvement of over 38 per cent from the 2009–10 deficit of $24.7 billion forecast in the fall of 2009. Through strong in-year fiscal management, both program spending and total spending are projected to be lower than forecast.

Over the medium term, the Province is on track to meet the fiscal targets outlined in the 2011 Budget. This includes steadily declining deficits of $15.2 billion in 2012–13, $13.3 billion in 2013–14 and $10.7 billion in 2014–15, and a balanced budget in 2017–18.