The province seems happy with their progress.
The Public Accounts on Ontario report has been released. The report aims to compare Ontario's actual financial performance, to what was planned in the 2016 budget.
The report shows considerable progress, when it comes to the province reducing its deficit. Last year's deficit was $991 million, which is $3.3 billion lower than what was projected in the 2016 Budget, and $0.5 billion lower than the interim projection in the 2017 Budget. The report notes that the lower deficit is due to the growth of revenue, and lower than forecasted interest on debt.
On top of the lower deficit projection, the report also cites an increase in economic growth, and a decrease in spending. Ontario's real gross domestic product (GDP) is up 2.7 per cent, up from the projected 2.2 per cent. Total revenue is up $2.2 billion, adding up to $140.7 billion. Total spending for the province is down $0.1 billion from the 2016 Budget projection.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa notes that Ontario is leading the nation in economic growth, and spoke about the results of the Public Accounts report.
“Ontario is on track to balance the budget in 2017-18. We have once again exceeded our fiscal targets by reducing the deficit by $3.3 billion lower than originally projected in the 2016 Budget. Thanks to the hard work of the people of Ontario, we are leading Canada in economic growth while investing in programs like free tuition and free pharmacare for children and youth. With a balanced 2017 Budget, we will continue to build a stronger, healthier Ontario,” he said.
The province's annual deficit fell from a peak of $19.3 billion in 2009.
The Auditor General reviews the Public Accounts report before it is released, and gives an opinion on whether Ontario is following independently established accounting standards.