Moody's changes Ontario outlook to negative from stable

Moody's credit rating agency has changed Ontario's debt and issuer ratings to negative from stable, while at the same time reaffirming its Aa2 ratings.

Higher than anticipated deficits, weak growth cited as primary reasons for change

CBC's Scott Peterson on why Moody's has changed its Ontario outlook 2:24
Moody's credit rating agency has changed Ontario's debt and issuer ratings to negative from stable, while at the same time reaffirming its Aa2 ratings. 
Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, shown here beside Premier Kathleen Wynne, said the Liberal government will eliminate the province's $12.5 billion deficit by 2017-2018. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press)

Moody's Investors Services says the change reflects its assessment of the province's ability to meet its medium term fiscal targets, especially with weak growth and higher than anticipated deficits projected for the next two years.

The ratings agency didn't wait for the Liberals to introduce their budget July 14, but Premier Kathleen Wynne has said it will be identical to the May 1 budget that was rejected by the opposition parties, triggering the June 12 election.

Moody's vice president Michael Yake says the agency viewed the May budget as "credit negative" for the province.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa says the recently re-elected Liberal government remains committed to eliminating the $12.5 billion deficit by 2017-18 even though it did "adjust" its short term deficit targets.

Sousa says the Liberals have cut expenses and become the leanest government in Canada with the lowest per-capita spending of any province.