ONTARIO’S final deficit number for 2013-14 was $10.5 billion — $1.3 billion lower than projected in the 2013 Budget, and $0.8 billion lower than the interim projection in the 2014 Budget. As announced in today’s release of the Public Accounts of Ontario 2013-14, this marks the fifth year in a row that Ontario has beaten its deficit target — making the province one of the only governments in Canada to achieve this level of success. As a result, Ontario’s accumulated deficit is $25 billion lower than it otherwise would have been.
Ontario is committed to eliminating the deficit by 2017-18. The province will continue to invest in programs and services that people depend on, such as health care, education, infrastructure and job creation, but will manage spending growth by ensuring that government activities are carried out efficiently.
Ontario consistently has the lowest per capita program spending among all Canadian provinces.
The government’s most recent Speech from the Throne outlined its four point plan – investing in people, building of modern infrastructure, supporting a dynamic business climate that thrives on innovation, creativity and partnerships and providing better retirement security for Ontarians.
* Strong management of expenses and the use of the $1 billion reserve more than offset the decline in revenue. At $126.4 billion, total expense in 2013–14 was $1.2 billion lower than the 2013 Budget forecast, largely reflecting the government’s ongoing focus on managing expenses. This included a freeze on all non-essential spending for the final quarter of the fiscal year, as recommended by an in-year expenditure review. With revenue growth steady but modest, careful management of spending in all areas has been critical to Ontario’s fiscal performance. Provincial program spending has been lower than forecast each year since the fall 2009 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review.
* Total revenue in 2013–14 was $0.9 billion lower than the 2013 Budget forecast, reflecting lower estimates of tax revenue for previous years, slower-than-projected economic growth and a decline in federal transfer payments. Higher-than-forecast income from government business enterprises and higher other non-tax revenue, including the sale of shares of General Motors Company, partially offset these declines. Including federal transfers, Ontario has the lowest revenue per capita of any province in Canada.
* In 2013, Ontario employment increased by 95,700 new jobs, building on a gain of 52,400 in 2012. Last year, almost 65 per cent of jobs gained were full-time positions and almost 70 per cent were in the private sector. Since the recession, the pace of job creation in Ontario has been stronger than in most developed economies, including the United States and the average of countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
* The province’s net debt-to-GDP ratio was 38.6 per cent at the end of fiscal 2013–14, compared to the 39.3 per cent forecast in the 2013 Budget, and the 40.8 per cent forecast in the April 25, 2012 update to the 2012 Budget. The government remains committed to reducing Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP ratio to its pre-recession level of 27 per cent.