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Constituency Office
39 Norfolk St. N.
Simcoe, ON N3Y 3N6
Phone: (519) 428-0446
Phone: (905) 765-8413
Fax: (519) 428-0835

Queens Park
Rm 206, North Wing
Legislative Building
Toronto, ON M7A 1A8
Phone: (416) 325-8404
Fax: (416) 325-8408

Dunnville Outreach Office
Chamber of Commerce
231 Chestnut Street
Dunnville, ON

What is Ontario’s economic

and fiscal outlook?

By MPP Toby Barrett

In his recent report, Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer, Stephen LeClair, has projected a $3.5 billion deficit in fiscal year 2017-18.

“Why would the average Ontarian care?” he mused during his media conference, and then reminded those present that during the last election a promise was made by the present government to balance the books by 2017-18.

As Opposition Leader Patrick Brown explained in the Toronto Star, “They’ve backed themselves into a corner. They have no way out other than to raise taxes or cut services,” adding “they want to cut funding to doctors, close needed schools and raise hydro rates, all because of their incompetence.”

Financial Accountability Officer LeClair explains, “Over the period from 2010-11 to 2014-15, Ontario reduced the deficit by an average of $0.9 billion per year. To achieve balance in 2017-18, the government plans to reduce the deficit by an average of $3.4 billion per year, a rate of improvement nearly four times greater than the pace of the past four years.”

Growth in Ontario’s economy has slowed markedly since the robust expansion under the Mike Harris government. Over the period from 1995 to 2000, the average annual growth rate of real GDP was 4.6 per cent. Over the past eight years, Ontario’s real economic growth has averaged just 1.2 cent per year.

Between 2007-08 and 2009-10, personal income tax revenue dropped 8.1 per cent while corporate tax revenue dropped by over 50 per cent. At the same time, Ontario’s program spending increased sharply by $11.5 billion in 2009-10 from the previous year, largely as a result of stimulus spending on shovel-ready infrastructure.

The FAO reports Ontario’s economic growth over the past eight years has been largely driven by household spending, residential investment and government expenditures. On average, net trade and business investment have been a drag on overall economic growth since 2007.

In 2000, Ontario merchandise exports to the U.S. represented 9.8 per cent of total U.S. imports. By 2014, Ontario’s share had dropped to just 5.5 per cent.

Long-term unemployment has worsened compared to pre-recession levels. It remains at 19 per cent, six percentage points higher than prior to the recession. Research has shown that long-term unemployment can seriously damage a worker’s long-term prospects.

From January to May 2015, the average wage settlement of 1.5 per cent for Ontario broader public sector employees is the highest increase in four years.

Health sector spending is projected to increase by an average of 1.7 per cent per year from 2014-15 to 2017-18, well below the three per cent annual average pace from 2010-11 to 2014-15 – hence the measures to reduce physician fees and move towards activity-based hospital funding.

Education spending is project to grow by less than half the pace of the past four years – primarily by closing schools.

Ontario’s $300 billion debt is now equal to 40 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product. Moody’s currently maintains a negative outlook, and S & P downgraded Ontario’s credit rating on July 6, 2015 which could increase borrowing costs.

Interest on debt is expected to increase by almost 25 per cent from $10.6 billion in 2014-15 to $13.2 billion by 2017-18. Almost 10 per cent of total spending will go just to pay this debt interest!

Ontario’s next update will be the Fall Economic Statement


‘Power line to nowhere’ costing taxpayers millions

QUEEN’S PARK – In Caledonia, an unfinished power line stands as a symbol of unresolved conflict as it continues to cost taxpayers millions of dollars in wasted money.
[Read More]


Municipal Land Transfer Tax will hurt home buyers

PORT DOVER – The provincial government plan to give municipalities the power to levy a Municipal Land Transfer Tax will hurt the average Ontario resident looking to buy a home.
[Read More]


Government votes to continue Death Tax

SIMCOE – The Liberal Government have voted down Leader of the Official Opposition Patrick Brown’s Private Member’s Bill, the Estate Administration Tax Abolition Act, which proposed the elimination of the so-called Death Tax.
[Read More]

Stalemate continues with bridges in Haldimand County

QUEEN’S PARK – It’s been a year since work stopped on the Provincial Highway 3 bridge in Cayuga due to protests from Confederacy Chiefs and their Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI). Today, local MPP Toby Barrett questioned the government what the plan is to finish this project.
[Read More]

FAO Report Confirms Hydro One Fire Sale a Bad Deal for Ontarians
QUEEN’S PARK – The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) confirmed the sale of Hydro One will be a scary scenario for Ontario residents.
[Read More]


‘Half Your Plate’ promotes fruit and vegetables
QUEEN’S PARK – Promoting healthy choices is not only good for the health of Ontarians, but also good for the economic health of farmers.
[Read More]

Barrett wants Auditor General to ‘follow the money’ on Liberals’ bargaining payouts
QUEEN’S PARK –MPP Toby Barrett is joining his MPP colleagues in questioning why the government finds $2.5 million to pay out to teachers’ unions, instead of spending it in the classroom.
[Read More]

Barrett takes Leal to task on Hydro One sale
QUEEN’S PARK – The question of who is standing up for farmers at the Cabinet table in regards to the sale of Hydro One remains unanswered.
[Read More]

Barrett queries Ontario government on U.S. Steel Canada

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett sounded the alarm about the immediate threat of pension and benefit losses facing U.S. Steel Canada pensioners. After hearing from a number of constituents at the Norfolk County Fair, Barrett raised this during Question Period in the Ontario Legislature this morning.
[Read More]


Barrett fears Nov. 1 hydro rate hike will force more to ‘heat or eat’
SIMCOE – The news of yet another unaffordable increase in electricity rates as a result of failed energy policies was met with disapproval from MPP Toby Barrett.
[Read More]


Government’s Great Lakes Act won’t protect environment: Barrett
SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is disappointed the government has passed a flawed bill intended on helping the Great Lakes. Rather than working with the Opposition to protect the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin, the bill was rammed through with debate cut off.
[Read More]


Hydro One executive salaries soar while Ontarians struggle with paying power bills
QUEEN’S PARK – During Question Period this week, Opposition Leader Patrick Brown asked Premier Wynne why her government is paying Hydro One executives lavish salaries, while average Ontario families cannot afford to pay their electricity bills.
[Read More]


Ontario’s home and community care sector is failing patients
QUEEN'S PARK - Last week, the Auditor General of Ontario released her report on the financial operations and service delivery of the 14 Community Care Access Centre’s (CCAC’s) in Ontario.  The report stresses that the provincial government must take urgent action to address the poor state of the home and community care sector in Ontario. 
[Read More]


Bees to be covered by agriculture insurance
QUEEN’S PARK – Toby Barrett, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP and Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, welcomed today’s announcement that the government would cover bees under agriculture insurance. The concept was put forward by the Official Opposition as an amendment to the The Agriculture Insurance Act.
[Read More]


Cayuga bridge fiasco raised again at Queen’s Park

QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Toby Barrett continues to question when construction will resume on the Cayuga bridge.
[Read More]

Neonics: Who is standing up for farming?
QUEEN’S PARK – Who is standing up for farming at the Cabinet table?
[Read More]


Barrett appointed Caucus Chair; reappointed Agriculture Critic
SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has been appointed Caucus Chair and reappointed as agriculture critic by incoming Opposition Leader Patrick Brown.
[Read More]


Patrick Brown wins by-election by wide margin
Simcoe – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is looking forward to the Queen’s Park arrival of newly-elected MPP and Opposition Leader Patrick Brown.
[Read More]


New Ontario pension tax remains bad for families and business
SIMCOE - Premier Wynne’s announced design features of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) does nothing to alleviate the concerns of working families and businesses.
[Read More]


Flawed Hydro One billing system won’t improve with lack of oversight
SIMCOE – Hydro One led the list for numbers of complaints of government organizations the Ontario Ombudsman investigates, but it will be the last time this will occur.
[Read More]


Fraser Institute concludes ORPP pointless
SIMCOE – A new study by the Fraser Institute predicts there will be no gain in people’s life savings when the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan is implemented.
[Read More]


Another industrial leader calls for lower power prices
SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is concerned for the economic future of Ontario with yet another industrial leader criticizing the high cost of electricity in the province.
[Read More]

Barrett responds to Ontario Chamber report on electricity prices

SIMCOE – The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is adding its voice to the growing clamour over skyrocketing electricity prices.
[Read More]

Barrett pushes for better answer on Cayuga bridge

CAYUGA – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has again questioned the government when will the Cayuga bridge be done.
[Read More]

Cayuga bridge requires urgent action: Barrett

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett rose in the House Thursday during Question Period and demanded urgent action on completion of the Cayuga bridge.
[Read More]


Public hearings moved up to June 1 on vector-borne and zoonotic diseases bill
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett’s infectious diseases bill was passed today in the Ontario Legislature with unanimous consent from all parties.
[Read More]

Public hearings moved up to June 1 on vector-borne and zoonotic diseases bill

QUEEN'S PARK– Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett was successful in securing one day of legislative assembly committee hearings for his private member’s bill – Bill 27 -- that would better enable Ontario to deal with emerging infectious diseases. The bill addresses diseases such as Lyme, West Nile and Ebola.
[Read More]


LaSalette kickboxers headed to world championships
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett gave kudos to a local kickboxing group which came home with gold, silver and bronze in national championships.
[Read More]


Barrett renews push for action on Lyme
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett renewed the push for answers on Lyme disease in front of a Queen’s Park gallery crowded with those afflicted by the disease.
[Read More]


Barrett concerned electricity prices driving out industry
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett took the government to task during Question Period for its energy policies that could be scaring business away from the area.
[Read More]


Electricity rates up 14 per cent, May 1
QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario’s electricity rates are skyrocketing again.
[Read More]


No help for agriculture in budget: Barrett
SIMCOE – Farmers shouldn’t look for help from yesterday’s budget, according to Toby Barrett, Opposition Critic for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
[Read More]

Budget misses the mark

QUEEN’S PARK – The Liberal government budget that was just released is not a substantive plan to get Ontario back on a firm economic footing and eliminate the deficit by 2017-18. recruitment team.
[Read More]


Barrett/Hoskins discuss Norfolk doctor shortage
QUEEN'S PARK – Over the years, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has met with the committee trying to build a new health centre in Port Dover, as well as with Norfolk General Hospital’s recruitment team.
[Read More]

Barrett has mixed emotion with Invasive Species Act
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett rose again in the Legislature to speak on the province’s Invasive Species Act.
[Read More]


Liberals increase deficit for third straight year
QUEEN’S PARK – It might have been April Fool’s Day when Opposition Finance Critic Vic Fedeli asked some hard questions of the finance minister about the province’s books, but it was anything but a joke.
[Read More]

Barrett to Ag Minister on neonics: “Why won’t you speak up for farmers?”
QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario’s agriculture minister was short on answers when pressed on the 80 per cent neonic ban on corn and soybean acreage that was recently announced.
[Read More]


Barrett pays tribute to farmers during Farm Safety Week
QUEEN’S PARK – Toby Barrett, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP and Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, paid tribute to volunteers in the Norfolk Farm Safety Association in the Ontario Legislature on Tuesday.
[Read More]


Adding livestock to crop insurance is good news: Barrett
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP and Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Toby Barrett supports government legislation to allow crop insurance to be expanded to cover livestock.
[Read More]


Despite impressive gains, agricultural literacy remains a struggle
QUEEN’S PARK – “We have to train people not only to be able to walk into a combine and know how to turn a wrench, but they also need to know how to calibrate that computer.”
[Read More]


Sudbury scandal: Premier asked to step aside if charges laid
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has asked Premier Wynne to step aside if charges are laid in connection with the Sudbury by-election scandal.
[Read More]


Moody’s sounds another warning about Ontario finances
QUEEN’S PARK – Another voice has been added to the chorus calling on the Wynne government to change its financial direction.
[Read More]


Barrett calls for re-striking the gas plant committee
QUEEN’S PARK – Re-strike the gas plant committee! That was the call from MPP Toby Barrett, fellow Opposition caucus members and members of the Third Party.
[Read More]


Barrett fears consequences of policy on rural school closings
SIMCOE – In the wake of a new policy that will fast track the process of closing schools, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is asking the government to slow down and reevaluate the process.
[Read More]


Dental benefits for low-income Ontarians needed sooner rather than later
Simcoe – Access to proper dental and oral health care improves lives and reduces costs on our health care system.
[Read More]


Petition: Say no to new gas taxes
SIMCOE – In the wake of news regarding a new carbon tax, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has launched a petition calling on the government to ditch its idea of a new carbon tax or any other kind of gas tax.
[Read More]


Comment period on bee health coming to a close
SIMCOE – Local MPP and Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Toby Barrett is reminding interested parties that the comment period regarding neonicotinoid insecticide is coming to a close January 25th.
[Read More]


Cayuga bridge is about safety

Queen’s Park – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett advocates the Ontario Minister of Community Safety and Corrections to step in on the native-shutdown of the Cayuga bridge reconstruction..

[Read More}


Barrett praises federal invasive species regulations

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett welcomed the new federal aquatic invasive species regulations.

[Read More}


Auditor General takes government to task on spending, electricity

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario’s Auditor General confirmed Tuesday what Opposition MPPs have been saying about the province’s electricity pricing.

[Read More}


PC Critics call for a rigorous scientific and consultative approach to neonics

LONDON – This morning, PC Critic for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Toby Barrett and PC Critic for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Lisa Thompson held a news conference outside the Pollinator Health meeting in London.

[Read More}

Will government provide mortality insurance to assist beekeepers?

QUEEN'S PARK – MPP Toby Barrett, Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, questioned the Premier today regarding bee mortality insurance, and asked why Ontario has yet to implement a Manitoba style insurance program to help Ontario beekeepers.

[Read More}


Two area companies honoured for ag innovation

SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett was beaming with pride when he heard two local companies were amongst those who received the Premier’s Award for Agri-Innovation Excellence.

[Read More}


New production insurance changes needed and must address farmers’ concerns

QUEEN'S PARK– An expansion of production insurance to cover more agricultural commodities is long overdue.

[Read More}


Barrett’s infectious disease bill receives all-party support
QUEEN’S PARK – Legislation designed to better enable Ontario to deal with emerging infectious diseases has passed second reading with all-party support. The bill has been referred to the Legislative Assembly Committee.

[Read More}


Liberals’ unrealistic and unaffordable path continues
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is suggesting Ontario residents strap themselves in order to prepare for the next round of rocketing taxes.

[Read More}


Burning Kiln again chosen by Legislature

QUEEN’S PARK – Dignitaries, politicians and perhaps royalty will be enjoying a glass of Burning Kiln 2013 Strip Room after the Norfolk red wine was chosen as the Ontario Legislature’s official red wine for 2015.

[Read More}

Barrett bill to address infectious diseases

SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has introduced a bill that will address infectious diseases such as Lyme, West Nile and Ebola.

[Read More}

When will we see local food in hospitals and schools?

QUEEN'S PARK – Ontario’s Agriculture Minister refuses to answer when the entire Local Food Act will be proclaimed.

[Read More}


Barrett urges people to testify on insurance bill

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett agrees with committee hearings to allow more input on Bill 15, Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, 2014 in the wake of second reading debate on the legislation Monday.

[Read More}

Unemployment trend continues
SIMCOE - For 93 consecutive months Ontario’s unemployment has stood higher than the national average.

[Read More}


Who’s looking out for us when it comes to infectious disease?

Simcoe – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is questioning how well Ontario is prepared to deal with emerging infectious disease.

[Read More}