McGuinty government seeking fairness in federal spending

Archived Release

McGuinty government seeking fairness in federal spending

Ministry of Finance

Presentation To Federal Subcommittee Focuses On Explaining $23-Billion Gap TORONTO, March 11 - The McGuinty government is calling on Ottawa for Ontario's fair share in federal funding by addressing the $23-billion gap between what the people and businesses of the province pay in taxes to the federal government, and what Ontario gets back to invest in programs, Finance Minister Greg Sorbara said today. "A $23 billion gap is more than Ontarians can afford," said Sorbara. "As proud Canadians, we need to stand up for our province. Our country depends on it. What we are asking for, ultimately, is fairness. We want the federal government to treat Ontario as it treats other provinces." In a presentation before the House of Commons Subcommittee on Fiscal Imbalance, Sorbara emphasized that Ontario urgently needs its fair share of funding for current programs and that Ontario is at a disadvantage because of the imbalance of Canada's finances. Sorbara provided some examples of where Ontario is shortchanged: - In 1995, the amount Ontarians gave the federal government for distribution in the rest of Canada was $2 billion. Ten years later, it's $23 billion - a 1,000 per cent increase. - Ontario welcomes more than 50 per cent of all new immigrants to Canada and gets $819 per capita, while Quebec receives 18 per cent of immigrants and gets $3,806 - a shortfall of $400 million. - Ontario gets $374 per person, compared to $423 in the rest of Canada - a shortfall of $610 million under the Canada Health Transfer. - Ontario gets $234 per person, compared to $264 in the rest of Canada - a shortfall of $374 million Under the Canada Social Transfer. - Ontario gets $5,060 per person in Employment Insurance (EI), compared to $7,930 in the rest of Canada - a shortfall of more than $1.3 billion. - For EI-funded training, Ontario gets $1,143 per person, compared to $1,827 in the rest of Canada - a shortfall of $314 million. "We are proud Canadians and proud supporters of equalization," Sorbara said. "However, as a result of changes in federal policy and special side deals, equalization has quite simply ceased to be equal." Sorbara also identified significant shortfalls in four federal infrastructure funding programs - the Canadian Strategic Infrastructure Fund, Municipal-Rural Infrastructure Fund, Strategic Highways Infrastructure Fund and the Border Infrastructure Fund. The federal government continues to project budget surpluses until 2009-10. Ottawa will collect $84.9 billion in taxes from Ontarians this year, and return $62 billion in programs and services. Meanwhile, the province faces a structural deficit and fiscal pressures in a number of areas, such as health care and post-secondary education. Disponible en fran├žais For more information visit www.gov.on.ca/finFor further information: Michael Arbour, Minister's Office, (416) 325-4138; Manuel Alas-Sevillano, Ministry of Finance, (416) 212-2155