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: National Leadership – Strong Ontario, Strong Canada

Backgrounder April 23, 2015

Ontario is showing national leadership by working with its municipalities, as well as other provinces and territories, to build stronger economies across the country.

The time is right for a new era of intergovernmental partnerships with the federal government that focus on investments in areas such as public infrastructure, skills development and training, advanced manufacturing, energy and climate change strategies, and resource development in northern Ontario.


In Canada, provinces and territories are investing three times as much as the federal government on infrastructure.

However, the federal government collects roughly the same amount of revenues derived from the economic growth associated with these infrastructure investments as do the provinces and territories combined.

The federal government has considerable room for increasing its infrastructure spending without putting at risk its fiscal targets, according to analysis from the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

Ontario has committed up to $1 billion for strategic infrastructure development in the Ring of Fire region and has taken a leadership role in driving progress in the region.

Fiscal Imbalance

Fiscal disadvantage

The current mismatch between revenue resources and responsibilities, called the vertical fiscal imbalance, puts provinces and territories at a fiscal disadvantage compared to the federal government.

$850 per Ontarian

In 2009–10, the shortfall between what the people of Ontario paid in federal taxes versus what they received in federal transfers and services was roughly $11 billion, according to the Mowat Centre. This represents $850 per Ontarian or $3,400 for a family of four.

$4.4 billion to the Equalization program

In 2015–16, Ontarians will contribute approximately $6.7 billion to Equalization while the Province will only receive approximately $2.4 billion in return — representing a net contribution of $4.4 billion to the Equalization program.


As of March 2015, there were 60 public water systems in First Nation communities in Ontario impacted by a drinking water advisory.

Ontario receives only 29 per cent of national LMDA funding despite accounting for 39 per cent of Canada’s population.

Relatively few unemployed Ontarians are eligible for LMDA-funded training because of limited client eligibility rules.


Examples of successful Canada–Ontario partnerships:

  • Cooperative Capital Markets Regulatory System
  • Renminbi trading hub
  • Canada–Ontario First Nations Drinking Water Improvement Initiative
  • Automotive sector support, including investments in Linamar (Guelph), Ford (Oakville) and Toyota (Cambridge)

Building a Stronger Economic Union

Infrastructure investments

Committing to greater infrastructure investment to create jobs, enhance productivity and competitiveness, and boost long-term economic growth and prosperity.

Ring of Fire

Matching Ontario’s investments and seizing opportunities in northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire.

Advanced manufacturing

Providing support for advanced manufacturing in Ontario, including the automotive sector.

Labour Market Development Agreement

Expanding eligibility and increasing funding under Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA)-funded programs so that more unemployed Ontarians can receive the skills training they need.