Statement by Ontario Finance Minister at FPT Finance Ministers' Meeting
Today, Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, issued the following statement on the Federal Provincial Territorial Finance Ministers' meeting in Ottawa:
"Last year, when Ontario was shortchanged $641 million, our government advocated for Ontarians to be treated fairly. Today's announcement regarding federal transfer and equalization payments is a step in the right direction.
This will help us move forward with our plan, continuing on our path to balance by 2017-18.
While what has happened here is encouraging, more needs to be done.
There are still a number of important areas where greater collaboration between our governments is needed.
Working together, we can stimulate more economic growth and build a strong Ontario within a strong Canada.
There are three main ways we can do that.
First, we need to invest in public infrastructure.
Ontario currently invests three times as much as the federal government in Ontario's public infrastructure, yet the federal government receives almost an equal share of the revenue generated from these investments.
Due to historically low interest rates, now is a once in a generation opportunity to invest in infrastructure that will benefit Ontarians for years to come.
Second, we need to enhance Canada's Retirement Income System.
We believe that enhancing the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) is the best option for improving the adequacy of retirement income for all Canadians.
In the absence of the federal government's leadership, Ontario is moving forward with the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.
Third, Ontario is concerned that the current Employment Insurance system does not meet the realities of the modern labour market, and needs to be more transparent and fair.
More adequate and reliable federal funding is necessary to keep pace with demands and help Ontarians find high-quality jobs.
Canada's fiscal arrangements have fallen out of step with the economic and demographic shifts we have witnessed and will experience in the years to come.
It is incumbent upon all orders of government to work together to modernize the fiscal arrangements to address the realities of the 21st century and build up a stronger economic union.
The bottom line here is that we need to work together.
I have asked Minister Oliver that he speak with the Prime Minister to arrange a meeting with Premier Wynne so that we can work together for the betterment of the people of Ontario.
I have also asked for a one-on-one meeting with Minister Oliver in order to more fully discuss Ontario's fiscal priorities.
We look forward to future discussions to ensure that Canadians benefit from the investments and commitments of our respective governments."