Friday, Aug. 16 - Today, the Government of Ontario delivered on its commitment of accountability and transparency to the taxpayers with the release of the province's first quarter finances.
"The results demonstrate that the government's plan to restore the province's finances while investing in education and healthcare is working," said Finance Minister Rod Phillips.
The report provides information about Ontario's 2019-20 fiscal outlook as of June 30, 2019. It is the first fiscal update since the 2019 Budget and the first under new legislation, the Fiscal Sustainability, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2019 (FSTAA). This Act was created to put sustainability at the centre of Ontario's fiscal planning, enhance transparency and public reporting requirements, and include provisions that bolster oversight and compliance.
While working towards fiscal sustainability, the government recognizes the need to remain focused and work with its partners through a time of global uncertainty to ensure the best outcomes for the people of Ontario.
Key updates since the 2019 Budget include:
• A deficit projection of $10.3 billion in 2019-20, unchanged from the 2019 Budget projection.
• Ontario's credit ratings confirmed by three credit rating agencies (Moody's, DBRS Limited and Fitch), and Fitch also improved the outlook on the Province's rating to Stable from Negative.
• Program expense is projected to increase by $182 million, underlining the government's commitment to invest in front-line services, such as health care and education.
• Interest on debt expense is projected to be $220 million lower in 2019-20 than forecasted in the 2019 Budget. Every dollar saved on servicing the debt is one more dollar that can go to ensuring the sustainability of services that the people of Ontario rely on.
"Our Government is committed to making smart investments in healthcare and education, and ensuring tax dollars are spent responsibly," Phillips said. "Our Plan is getting Ontario back on track to a balanced budget through a combination of responsible fiscal management and strategic investments in critical public services, while strengthening a climate for job creation."
“The former Liberal government did not have a plan for reducing the deficit, but we do for we must protect our cherished programs and services,” said Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.
The next fiscal update will be the Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review on or before November 15, 2019, which represents a mid-year update on the fiscal plan.
Quick Facts . . .
The report provides information about Ontario’s 2019–20 fiscal outlook as of June 30, 2019. The 2019–20 First Quarter Finances is the first fiscal report published under Ontario’s new fiscal legislation, FSTAA, introduced by the Premier to improve fiscal accountability.
Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP ratio for 2019-20 is projected to be 40.7 per cent, unchanged from the 2019 Budget forecast.
Queen’s Park Update – August 16, 2019
Ontario is taking action to improve recycling across the province and address the serious problem of plastic pollution and litter, as committed to in our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.
My colleague, the Honourable Jeff Yurek, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, has announced the next steps for renewing the Blue Box Program and transitioning the costs away from municipal taxpayers to make the producers of products and packaging responsible for them, starting in 2023. The first group of municipalities and First Nations will transfer the responsibility of their Blue Box programs to producers starting January 1, 2023. By December 31, 2025, producers will be fully responsible for providing Blue Box services province-wide.
Over the coming year, consultations with producers, stakeholders, and municipalities will be conducted to develop regulations to support the new producer responsibility model for the Blue Box Program. The new program must be affordable for producers and right for municipalities.
It is not the end of the Blue Box, but a transition to a new phase that will support innovation and improved diversion rates. The Blue Box Program will continue to be convenient and accessible for the people of Ontario. Residents who currently receive municipal blue box services will continue to receive the same services throughout the transition period. Once producers are fully responsible for the program, Ontarians will experience the same or improved access to Blue Box services across Ontario.
Reducing plastic waste and litter and making producers responsible for the end-of-life management of their products is a key part of our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan to balance a healthy economy and a healthy environment and keep our province clean and beautiful for current and future generations.
Also this week, the Honourable Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, announced the latest steps that are being taken to introduce a needs-based autism program. The Ministry will act on the clear direction it received from experts and families of children with autism.
Ontario is putting children, youth and vulnerable people first by committing to strengthening the oversight of behavioural clinicians who provide Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). The Minister will be working with ABA clinicians across the province to create the structure needed to improve outcomes for children and youth with autism. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, consultations will begin this fall on how best to implement the new regulations.
The Government is committed to introducing a new needs-based and sustainable program tailored to the individual needs of children and youth with autism to improve their long-term outcomes.
Member of Provincial Parliament