Toronto

Provincial spending could fall far short of demand in health, education: watchdog

Ontario's financial watchdog says there is a "significant risk" the Progressive Conservative government's spending plan will fall $5 billion short of what's needed for health and education.

Need for services to exceed fiscal plan, financial accountability officer says

The financial accountability officer says the province's spending plan won't cover what is needed for health and education in Ontario. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Ontario's financial watchdog says there is a "significant risk" the Progressive Conservative government's spending plan will fall $5 billion short of what's needed for health and education.

Financial Accountability Officer Peter Weltman says in his economic outlook and budget report released today that the need for those services will far exceed what's in the government's fiscal plan by 2021-22.

He says the government could balance the budget by that year, instead of its target of 2023-24, if it doesn't implement tax cuts that were promised during the election but haven't yet been implemented.

Weltman says the government has introduced many program and policy changes intended to cut costs over the past 18 months, which he estimates will save $6.6 billion.

Even after factoring in those cost-saving measures, Weltman says the demand for public services will be $4.8 billion higher.

He says if the government doesn't plan to boost spending by $5 billion, it could make additional cuts, look for more efficiencies in the delivery of public services, or underfund current programs.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now