2023 Provincial Budget Analysis
March 23, 2023
Today, Ontario’s Minister of Finance tabled the 2023 Provincial Budget entitled Building a Strong Ontario, outlining the Ford Government’s fiscal and policy priorities for the year. While this Budget represents the largest expenditure in Ontario history, Minister Bethlenfalvy is projecting a deficit of only $1.3 billion – a dramatic difference from last year’s $19.6 billion deficit. The Ontario Government is projecting a balanced budget by 2025.
While the budget largely recaps previous funding announcements, the government is prioritizing building highways and infrastructure projects, attracting manufacturing investments and opportunities, and improving healthcare services.
Last year’s budget served as a pre-election campaign platform, while this year indicates that the majority of the PC government’s priorities have shifted to more traditional conservative policies. While the government has previously used this opportunity to launch voter-friendly affordability initiatives, the pandemic largely dictated the agenda and priorities of the Premier’s first mandate. This year’s budget demonstrates the fiscal restraint PC voters and members of this government have been advocating for. The emergency pandemic spending has ended, coupled with soaring inflation rates, a looming recession, and geopolitical tensions have greatly influenced this budget. As a result, this government has resurrected the priorities they first campaigned for in 2018, before their mandate was derailed by the pandemic. Notably absent, was any “bailout” funding to address the City of Toronto’s post-covid budget shortfall, solidifying the provincial government’s intention to move forward from the pandemic.
- Investing in Healthcare
The government expects to spend $81 billion in the healthcare sector this fiscal year. The province is injecting $ 425 million to expand mental health and addictions service and community-based programs across the province. There was a further commitment to spend $ 33 million to increase undergraduate and postgraduate medical positions. The government is also accelerating spending in home and community care, increasing the amount to $ 569 million, with more than half for increasing wages. The government has also allocated $ 72 million for its plan to reduce wait times and backlogs through surgical and diagnostic community centres for publicly funded operations.
- Investing $80m over three years to expand nursing education by increasing enrollment for various nursing classes
- Providing $200m in 2023-2024 to address immediate healthcare staffing shortages through practice + experience partnership programs
- Investing $174m over two years in the Community Care Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program
- Building Ontario: Manufacturing
As a part of Ontario’s plan to become a global leader in electric vehicles and battery manufacturing, Budget 2023 introduced the Ontario-Made Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit. This would allow Ontario manufacturers up to $2m a year for training and innovation funding. The government announced an additional $3m to further advance Ontario’s Critical Mineral Strategy.
Additional funding to combat labour shortages was addressed by an increase in the Skills Development Fund (SDF), including a new capital stream of $224m to support training centres.
- Building Highways, Transit and Infrastructure
This year’s budget highlights the government’s continued investment in critical infrastructure projects, with new funding of $5m announced for a winter roads program in Northern Ontario. The government reiterated its priority with the ongoing $20 billion in major infrastructure projects like building highways, hospitals and schools over the ne