Ontario Finance Minister kicks off pre-budget consultations in Peterborough

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Ontario Finance Minister kicks off pre-budget consultations in Peterborough

Ministry of Finance

PETERBOROUGH, ON, Jan. 24 - Finance Minister Greg Sorbara today kicked off the first in a series of nine Finance Ministry-led stakeholder consultations in preparation for the next provincial budget. The yearly pre-budget consultations are part of an ongoing dialogue between the McGuinty government and the citizens of Ontario. "As we draw closer to the 2005 Ontario Budget, we must remain focused and disciplined in our efforts to encourage economic growth, restore the province to financial health, invest in education and improve health care," said Sorbara. "Difficult choices must be made in order to keep spending under control while ensuring that priorities like health and education receive adequate support." Emerging economic data suggests somewhat slower growth across Canada, largely due to the high Canadian dollar and oil prices. This slower growth may have an impact on provincial revenues as compared to the 2004 Ontario Budget forecasts. The 2004 Budget initiated a program to control spending, which has three goals: - To find $750 million in savings by 2007-08 - To control long-term costs to meet the public's demand for improvements to health and education - To create a more modern and efficient government with better public services. To date the government has identified $350 million in savings. "We are also calling on the federal government to form a critical partnership with Ontario in the priority areas of post-secondary education, child care and infrastructure," said Sorbara. "This partnership will help ensure that our province remains the engine of economic growth in Canada." The next three pre-budget consultations will be held on January 27 in Ottawa, January 28 in Kitchener and February 2 in Stoney Creek. Additional sessions are planned for New Liskeard, Toronto, Markham and Thunder Bay. For updated information, please visit the Ministry of Finance website at www.gov.on.ca/fin and click on "Hot Topics". Disponible en françaisFor further information: Diane Flanagan, Minister's Office, Cell: (416) 697-0848; Michael Arbour, Minister's Office, (416) 325-4138; Manuel Alas-Sevillano, Ministry of Finance, (416) 212-2155