Explaining A Responsible Approach To Ontario FinancesPublished on October 03, 2019
The October MPP column in Our Community Voice - on the Ontario Government's approach to finances
Our Community Voice, October 3, 2019 - The Ontario Government is attempting to manage the Provinces finances as one might run their household budget. This is a considerable challenge given the current financial state. For more than a decade, the Government has been spending more than it has been taking in in revenues. In fact, now the Province is the most indebted sub-nation state in the world. What does that mean? It would be like you running up your credit cards and lines of credit to the maximum and continuing to spend more. It has gotten to the point that interest payments on the debt is a major monthly expense, which takes directly from the Government’s ability to provide services to Ontarians.
Living well beyond our capacity to pay cannot continue indefinitely – after all, budgets will not balance themselves. So, it is imperative that the government correct its over-spending habits. This has been the Government’s focus this past year. To continue with the household analogy, the tricky part is to curb spending while still paying for all household activities and family functions. After all, we still need heat and hydro for the home, food and clothing, to commute to work each day, have children go to school, and manage to keep a little extra should there be unexpected expenses.
The Ontario Government is committed to getting the Province’s fiscal house in order. I can assure you the Government has taken corrective measures to curtail its spending. In doing this it has also set priority spending areas for essential services like health and education that require further funds. From the 2019-20 budget, Ontario residents are benefiting from billions of dollars more invested in Ontario’s health care system and an increase of $700 million in our education system.
In Ottawa, this increased spending has resulted in new health investments of $4.25 million to fund a home and community care program at the Ottawa Hospital and $2 million for the CHEO Children’s Treatment Centre to support children with developmental disabilities. In education, the school board of Ottawa-Carleton received an increase of $1,259,919 as well as $2,236,923 more for special education supports, equipment and supplies; Ottawa Catholic Board received an increase of $1,864,361; and the French Catholic Board received $1,453,216 more for special education supports, equipment and supplies. The three Boards together received more than $5.2 million for supporting students who need extra help learning English or French. These are just a few of the new investments being made in Ottawa.
There is still considerable pressure on the Ontario Government because it must still deal with the mountain of debt incurred, and the debt interest payments of $1 billion per month. However, the Government is making important decisions each day to better the Province’s financial standing. It is intent on taking back control of its balance sheet – just as you would with your household budget.