Ontario Fall Economic Statement 2023: Building Ontario’s Economy for Today and Tomorrow

Ontario’s Fall Economic Statement (FES) reports on the province’s current fiscal environment and indicates the government’s future policy priorities. 

The FES focuses on affordability measures and stimulating economic growth as Premier Ford seeks to reset his government’s narrative following months of falling public opinion due to the Greenbelt controversy.  Marit Stile’s NDP continues to pressure the government regarding the ongoing controversy.  

By the Numbers: A Weakened Fiscal Forecast

Since Budget 2023, economic forecasts have worsened for Ontario.

Spending2022-23, $198.8B 2023-24, $206.4B 2024-25, $210.5B 2025-26, $217.5B
GDP2023 GDP growth has decreased from 3.7% (2022) to 1.1% (2023) and is projected to decrease again to 0.5% in 2024, with an increase to 2.0% in 2025.  
InflationFES CPI (3.7%) is slightly higher than what was anticipated in the 2023 Budget (3.6%). The Government projects CPI to decreases to 2.0% by 2025.

Despite projecting a $0.2B surplus for 2022-23, the government expects the deficit to land at $1.3B.  The previously projected surplus of $0.2B is now expected for 2024-25.  The government will justify these changed numbers in the name of fiscal prudence and investing in healthcare and other social services.

Unpacking the Numbers and Premier Ford’s Priorities

Divided into two main themes of ‘Building Ontario’ and ‘Working for You,’ the government is signalling its priority to make life more affordable, build critical infrastructure, improve healthcare delivery, and elevate workers’ work quality. These policies aim to present the Premier as someone who gets things done and responds to the concerns of Ontarians about the rising cost of living. 

Building Ontario

Making Life More Affordable

As previously announced, the government is extending the gas tax cut to June 2024 (once set to expire at the end of the year).

Additionally, the government is removing the provincial portion of HST on new rental builds. 

Building Critical Infrastructure, Manufacturing, and Mining

The government is investing $3B to launch a new provincial infrastructure bank. The bank intends to draw on outside investment to supplement the government’s contribution.

The government is also increasing funding for housing initiatives through the new ‘Housing Enabling Water Systems Fund.’ A joint program between the province and the federal government, Ford is keen to draw federal dollars toward addressing the housing crisis in Ontario.

Ford is expanding broadband funding by $4B, aiming to provide high-speed internet to all regions by 2025.

The government is investing $48B over ten years to facilitate healthcare infrastructure projects, with another $22B to build new schools concurrently.

Ford is increasing funding for mining and manufacturing through the ‘Ontario Focused Flow-Through Share Tax Credit.’ This includes $12M in new funding to support critical minerals exploration. Further support for the critical minerals industry includes $5M for the Critical Minerals Innovation Fund and $6M for the Ontario Junior Exploration Program.  

Bolstering support for Ontario’s manufacturing industry, the government is launching the Ontario Made Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit, providing $780M in income tax support over the next two years. Ford is also investing an additional $100M in the Invest Ontario Fund, now totalling up to $500M.

Working For You

Improving Healthcare

As announced before the FES, the government is lowering the age required to participate in early detection breast cancer screening to 40 years. The FES also reaffirmed that the government is expanding access to healthcare services for Ontarians with enhancements to scopes of practice and hiring more healthcare workers. The government also highlights its previous commitments to mental healthcare and investing in home care.

Working for Workers

Building on positive relationships with Ontario’s building trades and unions, the government is advancing pro-worker reforms, including investing $160M in a fourth round of the Skills Development Fund.  The investment provides funding to stakeholders seeking to train more workers in high-demand industries.

Further, the government is introducing a new framework that targets benefit pension plans for workers following comprehensive consultations with stakeholders.  


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