Ontario Government’s Embarrassment of Riches

Ontario Government’s Embarrassment of Riches

On September 23, the Ontario government announced it had a surplus of $2.1 billion. By ending the 2021-2022 fiscal year with this “surplus” instead of the $13.5 billion deficit it had projected in its August update to the 2021-22 budget. This means since August the government’s projects are off by $15.6 billion! [1]

This difference is reportedly the result of provincial revenues that were 20.2 per cent higher than in the 2021 budget projections due to increased taxation and higher-than-anticipated inflation, meaning it came out of workers’ pockets. The government quickly announced that the $2.1 billion surplus would be handed over to the banks that hold Ontario’s debt. This embarrassment of riches comes at a time when education workers are demanding wage increases to keep up with inflation and are having to fight the government to get them.

The fact is the government campaigned on its budget as its platform. After the election it updated its projections and reduced its deficit by $20 billion in August only to have it be off by another $15.6 billion only a month later with no real explanation, accountability or discussion about what this means and what happened. Instead right away we are informed that $2.1 billion more will now be handed over to those that hold Ontario’s debt. If anything this reveals that the workers should not be disinformed by governments’ claims about debts and deficits and balanced budgets as it is all smoke and mirrors to get them to give up their demands and hide the handing over of billions in public funds to private interests.

[1] https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1002233/ontarios-plan-to-build-supporting-stronger-province-and-economy