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Ontario government spending growth slowest in 30 years under Tories, budget watchdog says

Ontario's fiscal watchdog says program spending under the Progressive Conservatives will drop to its lowest level in 30 years as the government tries to eliminate the deficit.

Doug Ford government aims to balance budget in 2023-24, one year past its mandate

Ontario Financial Accountability Officer Peter Weltman said Wednesday the PC government's plan to balance the budget in 2023-24 means program spending growth will remain at about one per cent on average over the next five years. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Ontario's fiscal watchdog says program spending under the Progressive Conservatives will drop to its lowest level in 30 years as the government tries to eliminate the deficit.

The Tories have said they don't expect to balance the budget until 2023-24 — one year past their mandate — and have been announcing a slew of cuts as they chip away at the $11.7-billion deficit.

The Financial Accountability Officer says that the government's plans mean it will hold program spending growth to one per cent on average over the next five years, the lowest level since the mid-1990s.

It says that means provincial spending on public services would be reduced by $1,100 per person during that time.

The FAO warns that the government's constrained spending will contribute to weaker economic growth.

It also says factors like increasing interest rates, high household debt and trade uncertainty could negatively impact the government's plans.

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