Ontario Champions Economic Growth and Investment in Health Care at Finance Ministers’ Meeting
Government Continues to Advance Priorities that Matter to the People of Ontario
December 17, 2019
Building on Premier Doug Ford’s leadership, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, stressed the need for a collaborative approach to priorities that matter to the people of Ontario, and all Canadians, at today’s meeting of federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers.
“Our government’s Plan to Build Ontario Together is working, and that plan includes collaborating with the federal government. What’s good for Ontario is good for Canada, and what’s good for Canada is good for Ontario. Now, more than ever, we need to show the world that Canada is strong and united,” said Minister Phillips.
In Ottawa, Minister Phillips held productive discussions with his fellow finance ministers, raising key issues on behalf of the people of Ontario such as health care funding, transit, infrastructure, and economic competitiveness. By working with the federal government, the provinces and the territories, the Province will deliver on its commitment, including making life more affordable, investing in critical public services like health care, and creating jobs in a more competitive business environment.
Prior to the meeting, the federal government advised Ontario of its share of funding for the Canada Health Transfer and Canada Social Transfer for 2020-21. This year, while total federal support for critical services in Ontario through these key transfers has increased, it is not sufficient to meet the long-term costs facing provinces and territories. Standing with his fellow finance ministers, Minister Phillips continues to call on the federal government to improve the Canada Health Transfer; in particular to increase it by an annual rate of 5.2 per cent to meet the growing costs faced by all provinces and territories.
Minister Phillips also raised Ontario’s commitment to investments in rural and northern infrastructure along with transit projects, highlighting for the federal government the need for efficient approvals for all outstanding projects through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP). Ontario continues to call on the federal government to fulfill their commitment to support the Province’s plan for the largest capital investment in new subway builds in Canadian history so people can get where they want to go, when they need to get there.
Ontario joined Saskatchewan as well as other provincial and territorial partners in calling on the federal government to strengthen the Fiscal Stabilization Program, to make it more responsive to economic circumstances and downturns. The program is meant stabilize the finances of provinces that experience sudden and sharp drops in revenue because of economic factors. Program payments to provinces are constrained by a per capita payment limit of $60 and are restricted by overly complex eligibility rules.
The government will continue to fight for the people of Ontario while working shoulder to shoulder with all levels of government so that every town, city and region across the province and the country can share in our mutual prosperity.
The annual December meeting of finance ministers is when provinces and territories are informed of the exact amounts that they will receive through federal transfer programs as they plan their budgets for the coming year.
Federal-provincial transfers, an important source of Ontario’s revenue, are expected to account for about 16.3 per cent of the Province’s total revenues in 2019–20. These transfers support the delivery of high-quality public services that the people of Ontario need and deserve. As noted by the Conference Board of Canada, total federal support for critical services in Ontario through these key transfers is not sufficient to meet the long-term costs facing provinces and territories. The Province is calling on the federal government to do more to make federal-provincial transfers work better for the people of Ontario, who deserve a system that is fair, adequate and flexible, and that supports fiscal sustainability.
EY Canada’s line-by-line review reported that the people of Ontario send $12.9 billion more in tax dollars to the federal government than what the province receives.