Ontario getting out of the banking business
After weeks of rumours that the Ontario government would be announcing it was selling off the LCBO or TV Ontario in this year's budget, Ontarians heard Wednesday that the Finance Minister was putting a little-known public bank on the block.
- SPECIAL: Ontario Budget 2001
The Province of Ontario Savings Office, known as POSO, will be the first government program Jim Flaherty disposes of. He says POSO has no business being run by the government and the profit from its sale will go towards funding other public services.
"That will help us with our funding measures, particularly in health care. There's no reason for the government of Ontario to be in the banking business. That's what the POSO is. It's a bank and it is not as wide-ranging in its banking services as private sector banks are today," said Flaherty.
The Province of Ontario Savings Office has 28 branches and 100,000 customers across the province. The government says the new owner will have to keep a physical presence in remote communities.
During a news conference Wednesday, Flaherty said he's still prepared to look at all publicly owned assets when it comes to privatization, including the LCBO's 600 liquor stores and TV Ontario.