Statement from the Finance Minister on Upcoming Federal-Provincial-Territorial Finance Ministers' Meeting
Vic Fedeli, Minister of Finance, has released the following statement:
"At tomorrow's federal-provincial-territorial finance ministers' meeting, Ontario's focus will be on restoring business competitiveness and making the province open for business. This is part of our plan to cut taxes, end cap-and-trade, reduce red tape and lower hydro bills.
We have called on the federal government to provide support for Ontario's workers, families and communities affected by GM's decision to close the Oshawa Assembly Plant.
At the First Ministers' Meeting on Friday in Montréal, Premier Ford raised the issue of the federal carbon tax with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and spoke directly with him about the impact it will have on businesses and families. Building on Premier Ford's leadership and our coalition with Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, we will continue to expand our alliance of like-minded provinces and to urge the federal government to scrap the carbon tax because it will kill manufacturing and automotive jobs, and make Canada a less attractive place to do business.
Earlier this week, Ontario and Saskatchewan issued a joint letter expressing our mutual concern about the upcoming implementation of the Canada Pension Plan enhancement and the carbon tax. If the federal government won't reconsider the implementation of these initiatives, we insist they conduct an updated comprehensive economic analysis and communicate the combined impact of these initiatives — particularly on small and independent businesses.
Today the federal government provided Ontario with its share of funding for the Canada Health Transfer, Canada Social Transfer and Equalization for 2019-20. This year, total federal support for critical services in Ontario through these key transfers has declined both in terms of total dollars and the amount per Ontarian. We are disappointed this comes at a time when the federal government is placing more burdens on the provinces, and while provincial and territorial governments are finding themselves cash-strapped due to ever-increasing health care costs as the population ages.
For the first time in ten years, Ontario will no longer receive Equalization payments in 2019-20. While this shows strength and growing confidence in our economy, the people of Ontario have consistently been the largest net contributors to the Equalization program. That is still true, and in 2019-20, Ontario taxpayers will contribute an estimated $8 billion to the program, the highest of any province in Canada.
We demand fairness for the hard working people of Ontario who pay, overall, $12.9 billion more to the federal government than they receive in federal spending. Premier Ford and I are calling for a review of federal transfer payments to ensure that Ontario businesses, individuals and families receive a fair and adequate share of the funding.
We have also called on the federal government to provide adequate funding for Ontario's French-Language Services, for skills training to support Ontario's manufacturers, and to fully reimburse the provinces for the cost of supporting illegal migrants coming from the U.S., which the federal Parliamentary Budget Officer recently affirmed is costly to provinces.
We continue to urge the federal government to honour its commitment to funding First Nations in Ontario as soon as possible to ensure communities have the financial supports necessary to successfully respond to the federal legalization of cannabis.
The federal government must take steps to address the national cannabis supply shortage and ensure there is an adequate and predictable supply of recreational cannabis by federally licensed producers to meet the objectives of legalization."