Government Must Take Strong Actions To Eliminate Provincial Deficit By 2017-18
TORONTO, Feb. 15, 2012 /CNW/ -
Today the Commission on the Reform of Ontario's Public Services presented its report to the Government of Ontario. The commission concluded that the goal of eliminating the deficit by 2017-18 can be met in part through reforms to the delivery of public services that are desirable in their own right, not just because they are less costly. Affordability and excellence are not incompatible; Ontarians can have the best public services in the world.
The commission was established to provide advice on how to make long-term, fundamental changes to the way government delivers services, in order to help eliminate the provincial deficit by 2017-18 or sooner, and to ensure that once the budget is balanced, a sustainable fiscal environment remains. As part of its mandate, it was not to make recommendations that would increase taxes or lead to the privatization of health care or education.
Ontario must act soon to put its finances on a sustainable path and must be prepared for tough action - until at least 2018. The commission believes that Ontario can resolve its fiscal dilemma while protecting, to the greatest degree possible, the public programs on which Ontarians rely, many of which are a source of justifiable pride.
The report offers a road map to a day when Ontarians can count on public services that are both excellent and affordable - the public services that Ontarians want and deserve.
"The government must find ways to make the broader public sector work better, find more efficient ways of delivering the services Ontarians need and want, to get better value for money out of the tax revenues the government raises and ultimately to preserve as much as possible the programs Ontarians cherish most."
"There are some who will scoff at the idea that Ontario can provide the best public services, delivered in the most efficient manner, in the world. To those who think that sounds impossibly ambitious, I put the question to you another way; why not?"
- Don Drummond, Chair
- The commission's economic projections show that revenue growth will be lower and spending growth higher than assumed in the 2011 Budget, and that under the government's current programs, policies and practices the Ontario deficit would be in the order of $30.2-billion in 2017-18, more than double the 2010-11 deficit. The projections also foresee a net public debt of $411.4 billion, equivalent to 50.7 per cent of the province's GDP, compared with 35 per cent today.
- To reach the official target of balancing the budget by 2017-18, Ontario must keep the growth in total program spending to 0.8 per cent a year for seven years. As Ontarians attach different priorities to different programs, and some offer more opportunities for efficiency gains than others, not every program should grow at the 0.8 per cent rate.
- Meeting the target of a balanced budget means that program spending for every man, woman and child living in Ontario would have to fall by 2.7 per cent over the next seven years, or 0.4 per cent annually. In real terms, with inflation increases removed, the cut in programs per person would amount to 16.2 per cent, meaning 2.5 per cent declines on average in every year from 2010-11 through 2017-18.
- The commission has delivered its report in time to inform the Ontario government for the development of the 2012 Ontario Budget.
Read the Report of the Commission on the Reform of Ontario's Public Services on the Ontario government website.
Read the biographies of the commissioners.
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For further information:
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES ONLY:
Jenna LeBlanc, Secretariat to the Commission on the Reform of
Ontario's Public Services
416-326-0077 or [email protected]