Government spending and how to manage Ontario's public sector workforce have emerged as clear issues in the provincial election, but it's not yet clear to observers how any of the parties will achieve their goals.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak has presented the clearest picture with his vow to cut 100,000 public sector jobs.

With the province facing a projected $12.5-billion deficit by 2016, both the New Democratic Party and the Liberals have also included cuts to spending in their party platforms.

The NDP's platform calls for the appointment of a Minister of Savings and Accountability tasked with finding annual savings of $600 million a year after 2014-15. The platform also calls for limiting the use of outside consultants.

The Liberal platform, released on Sunday, is less specific, but calls for a 30 per cent reduction in the number of government agencies. But Wynne hasn't signalled how those reductions would translate into jobs.

Economist says some cuts inevitable with looming deficit

University of Ottawa economist Gilles Levasseur said all three parties have to realize some cuts are inevitable.

"It doesn't matter which political party is in power," he said.

However, Levasseur said the Tory plan tries to do too much at the same time: cutting spending and jobs while cutting corporate and personal income tax and balancing the books.

"You can't eliminate the deficit and create jobs and provide programs for society... something has to give," he said.

Former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page agrees, saying cuts to public services need to be targeted, not sweeping.

Andrea Horwath campaigns in London

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says instead of deep public sector job cuts, she'll appoint an "accountability" minister to find $600 million of savings a year. (Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press)

"It is good government to look for efficiencies, whether those efficiencies are found in labour or capital or new approaches to service delivery," said Page in an emailed response to CBC News.

"It is not good government to set target reductions without a plan provided to the legislature or citizens. This undermines accountability and trust. It hides fiscal and service level risk," he added.

Labour leaders have taken issue with the Tory plan in particular. Sid Ryan with the Ontario Labour Federation says their economists have crunched the numbers and see unemployment rising by more than two per cent in cities like Ottawa and London, Ont. under the Hudak plan.