Statement by Finance Minister Charles Sousa on Moody's Credit Rating Announcement
Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance has issued the following statement in response to Moody's improvement of Ontario's outlook to Aa2 stable:
"Following a thorough review of our government's economic and fiscal plan, Moody's has just announced an upgrade of the Province's outlook to Aa2 stable.
You can read Moody's press release by clicking here: https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-Affirms-Ontarios-Aa2-Ratings-Changes-Outlook-to-Stable--PR_347841.
Moody's outlook change reflects its confidence in our government's plan to grow Ontario's economy and create jobs for Ontarians.
In Moody's own words, "the stable outlook on the Province of Ontario's ratings reflects our opinion that the province has presented a budget plan with little risk that the debt burden will exceed recent levels." They also forecast Ontario's debt to "fall marginally across the medium-term and, as importantly, for interest expense to remain manageable as well."
Our government remains on track to eliminate the deficit by 2017-18, and remain balanced in 2018-19. Ontario is once again projected to beat its deficit target for the seventh year in a row. By continuing to beat our fiscal targets, Ontario's accumulated deficit is $30 billion lower than it otherwise would have been.
We will continue to reduce the deficit through a fair and balanced approach. The 2016 budget is focused on strategic investments that stimulate economic growth and job creation including investing over $160 billion in infrastructure projects across the province over the next 12 years. Even with these investments, our government has the lowest program spending per capita of any province in Canada.
Furthermore, between 2010-11 and 2014-15, our government has held program expense growth to an average annual rate of 1.4 per cent, while still supporting the vital public services that Ontarians rely on, like health care, education and social services. We have achieved this by finding new and more efficient ways to deliver the best value for Ontarians.
Moody's is the first of the rating agencies to release its rating. Ontario has always valued the input of third-party analysis as an important checkpoint in ensuring that our fiscal plan is credible, reliable and transparent. While the news from Moody's today is indeed positive, it is important to remember that it is just one assessment among many third-party analyses. Across the board, private-sector economists are forecasting Ontario's economy to be among the top two growth leaders in Canada. In fact, Ontario's most recent economic accounts for the fourth quarter of 2015 showed that Ontario's real GDP increased 2.6 per cent in 2015. And, just yesterday, University of Toronto revised its real GDP forecast for Ontario up by 0.7 points in 2016 (+3.1 per cent) and 0.1 points in 2017 (+2.8 per cent) stating, "the near term outlook for the province looks very bright."
As we continue to implement our plan to balance the budget, grow the economy and create jobs, Ontarians will continue to see measurable results."