CGA Ontario Responds to 2013 Provincial Budget
Ontario government recommits to deficit elimination by 2017-18 - fiscal challenges could be eased further through alternative service delivery
TORONTO - The Certified General Accountants of Ontario commends the government for its recommitment to deficit elimination by 2017-18, although it remains concerning that the $11.7B deficit projected for this year is $2B more than last year's deficit.
"It is promising to see that program spending is projected to be less than one per cent for the second year in a row and will remain at this level until the budget is balanced," said Doug Brooks, FCGA, CEO, CGA Ontario.
To further ease fiscal challenges, CGA Ontario recommends that the government leverage the value for money audits to identify program and service savings and efficiencies, in addition to existing resources to collect unpaid taxes, as per March 2013 pre-budget recommendations.
It's encouraging to see the government establish a youth jobs strategy over two years to create jobs and mentorship opportunities for youth, in addition to promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. This supports and helps enhance research being conducted by the CGA Ontario Chair in International Entrepreneurship at Schulich School of Business, York University.
Because small- to medium-enterprises are a driving economic force in Ontario, we applaud the government for its investment driving increased export potential for Ontario SMEs by working with the federal government to expand trade agreements.
As for transportation infrastructure, we look forward to learning more about the government's public transit investment plans pending the Metrolinx strategy release. Once revenue generating tools are identified, it's imperative that the government commit in legislation that all revenue generated will be solely dedicated to public transit.
In support of our budget recommendation last year, we are pleased to see the increased investment in home and community care by an average four percent per year, which could help reduce costs associated with prolonged hospital stays.
The Ontario government will also need to evolve and adopt new services delivery models as traditional austerity measures will not solve the province's fiscal woes.
"Cost savings can be achieved without sacrificing service quality by partnering with the private and not-for-profit sectors to deliver public services through alternative service delivery vs. privatization," said Ted Wigdor, vice-president, corporate, regulatory and government affairs, CGA Ontario.
CGA Ontario is a self-governing body that grants the exclusive rights to the CGA designation, and controls the professional standards, conduct and discipline of its members and students in the province of Ontario. Certified general accountants (CGAs) are committed to meeting the needs of businesses and organizations with strategic insight, leadership and demonstrated abilities. In Ontario, there are more than 22,000 CGAs and 9,000 students working toward their designation.