Drummond report crushes Ontarians’ morale–and the table

Nearly a third of his suggested cuts concern healthcare


You might as well call him Dr. No–as in, no full-day kindergarten, no more small class sizes, no pay increases for doctors, and so on.

Don Drummond, a former TD economist and chair of Ontario’s commission on public-service reform, has unveiled his much-anticipated report on how to restore the fiscal health of Canada’s largest province. Drummond’s two-volume, 532-page tome crushed Ontarians’ morale on Wednesday–as well as the table onto which Ontario Provincial Police officers unloaded copies of the report during the media lock-up this morning, according to the Toronto Star.

Drummond has predicted that Ontario’s deficit will balloon to $30.2 billion in the next seven years, unless the province manages to contain total yearly spending increases to 0.8 per cent. Nearly a third of his suggested cuts concern healthcare–unsurprising, given that public spending there has been growing at an eye-popping average annual rate of 6.3 per cent over the past five years.

But it’s not just doctors who are up in arms against the Drummond report. There’s enough in there to make just about anybody mad: The document, in fact, recommends raising the retirement age for teachers; scrapping a new 30 per cent Ontario tuition grant for undergraduate students (unless the budget for post-secondary education can be otherwise contained to 1.5 per cent annual growth); axing a 10 per cent rebate on electrical bills; closing one of the two head offices of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, as well as shutting two casinos in Niagara Falls.

“Ontario faces more severe economic and fiscal challenges than Ontarians realize,” Drummond said. And that, in all likelihood, was the main point of his report: to deliver a shocking wake-up call, as Adam Radwanski noted in The Globe and Mail last weekend.

“Our message will strike many as profoundly gloomy,” Drummond said Wednesday. “It is one that Ontarians have not heard, certainly not in the recent election campaign, but one this commission believes it must deliver.”


Drummond report crushes Ontarians’ morale–and the table

  1. How much of Ontario’s near bankruptcy has been caused by mass immigration?  When you bring in thousands of newcomers a year and give them immediate access to all social programs, how can you not run huge deficits?  The mass immigration of the past 25 yrs has been an economic drain that’s getting worse every day.  The only politician with the guts to speak the truth has been Rob Ford and Torontonians of all races banded together to give him a strong mandate.    Obviously, immigration is a Federal and not a Provincial matter so be sure to e-mail your Federal MP and let them know they can forget about your vote at the next election unless you see them working for a moratorium on all new immigration.

    • Go soak your head.

      • Only if you remove yours from the sand

        • I’m not the one living in the petrostate fantasies, hon.

  2. Drummond’s wake-up report is more than a criticism of McGuinty’s fiscal management. It also wisely
    reflects  the unfavorable short term global financial prospects and risks. It would be foolish to ignore his warning.

     It could be worse. Other provinces, formerly helped out by Ontario, are doing better, and can now return the favor through equalization payments. 

  3. Mass immigration? More like mass McGuinty voting.

    If we simply rolled back our spending to 2008/2009 levels, we’d have a 3 billion dollar surplus. 2008/2009 wasn’t that long ago, services weren’t that bad.

    The problem is McGuinty has grown spending at 9% a year when the economy is barely growing at 1% a year. How is that sustainable? It’s not. And now we need to roll back all of McGuinty’s spending. As usual with government, it’s easy to spend an extra 20 billion a year, but it isn’t easy to get it out of the system once it’s budgeted. Just like how when the government cuts x dollars from the police department, this means cuts of hundreds of officers. When the government adds the same x dollars to the police department, it means they can hire dozens of officers.

    Government math is truly fascinating.

    This problem is easy to fix: a rollback to 2008/2009 levels of all spending. And ideally, no more McGuinty.

  4. Or Ont could just end equalization payments to other provinces of $20B plus…and pay off the deficit with change to spare.

    A couple of years of not having to pay that, and we wouldn’t have a debt either

    • Ontario doesn’t make equalization payments to other provinces. That’s now how equalization works.  And the days when Ontario taxpayers contributed $20B more to the federal fisc than they receive are long gone. Martin and Harper have ramped up payments to Queen’s Park, and Ontario residents now earn lower than average earnings, so the surplus from Ontario taxpayers is disappearing from both ends.

      • Ontario does indeed contribute over $20B to equalization….Ont in fact contributes 40% of Canada’s GDP, while Alberta only produces 16% of it.

        You need to get out more.

        • “…while Alberta only produces 16% of it.”
          Not bad for 10% of the population, though we will of course, try harder.

          • Nothing wrong with it….however you are not supporting the country.

          • Well, we are supporting 6% of it, which isn’t much, but on the other hand is 6% more than Ontario currently is.

          • @GreatWallsofFire:disqus 

            We all chip in to equalization…what matters is how much we get back.

            PEI benefits most.

            Ont just gets a rebate on our own money….but no one is ‘supporting’ us, in spite of the mythology in Alberta.

          • Emily, I think another blogger…Rick Ormen, pointed that Ontario contributes 37% of the GDP and your population accounts for 38% of the country’s total..therefore, Ontario truly is a “have-not” province and does get a net-gain from equalization payments.  Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be Alberta giving you money, it could be Newfoundland.
            By the way does this mean your province isn’t on the road to prosperity like you were touting in the Justin Trudeau threads and you won’t be separating along with Quebec?

          • @Healthcare Insider

            Ahhh you just can’t leave it alone, can you…

            Rick claimed Ont was ‘underperforming’….like we were a mutual fund or something.  LOL

            Ont has been hit by manufacturing loss, and just as happens in Alberta when a bust strikes…..things get dicey for awhile.

            So we take steps to fix it, and move on.

            In the meantime, we get a minor rebate on equalization payments….we are in effect paying ourselves.

            No, Alberta is not giving us money….no province is.  It comes from the same joint kitty that every other province, including your own, has drawn from.

            Ontario has a diverse economy, so we’ll do fine thanks.

            Alberta has a pre-industrial society and economy….a primary resources one….that you refuse to upgrade.

            This is why Ont and Quebec should join together and separate.from the rest of you…we have two different economies and societies….and we’ll be happy to leave you to yours.

          • Ontario gets a `minor rebate`……Isn`t the truth of the matter that Ontario gets everything it pays into the `kitty` plus a little more back so your earlier suggestion that Ontario just keep the money is pays into the equalization payments and pay its debt is ridiculous because Ontario is already getting ALL that money plus a little more.

          • @57fc79f8528c0aa6c4b4330d53700334:disqus 

            No dear, it’s not.

            Maybe if you ever got out of Calgary, or even read the news occasionally you wouldn’t feel driven to play this stupid nyah-nyah schoolyard game and look foolish.

    • And just how is this decision within the power of the Ontario government?

      The equalization program is funded from federal revenues, which come from taxpayers.  The Ontario government is completely uninvolved.


      “The provinces are uninvolved in the transfer, except to the extent that they may qualify for cash payments; provincial governments do not contribute financially to equalization.”

      • Complaints about equalization have been around for years, and the voices are getting louder.  Since fixing it will help Alberta as well as Ont I’m sure Harper will be willing to sort it out.

        • Stick to the topic, which is the Ontario deficit and how to solve it.

          Unless your suggesting the feds increase transfers to the Ontario government (which is ridiculous if you’re also suggesting Ontario stop contributing), any changes to equalization have zero effect on the provincial deficit.

          • I am on topic, thank you.

            Growth is the only way to ‘solve it’….

  5. Has anyone considered how these proposals might affect Ontario’s already depressed economy–especially when combined the cuts being contemplated at the federal level?  The bond rating agencies are warning the feds against cutting too deeply, too quickly. 

  6. Everybody just chill – I’m sure the Parliamentary Budget Office’s report assuring us it’s all sustainable is imminent.

  7. end full day kindergarten.. so you take 1 parent out of work and put them at home? or you can have a 16 year old babysit for weed money i guess…

    • or the parents whose kids got to the 800 schools that offer full day-K just do whatever all the parents whose kids go to other schools do, and what they themselves did merely 2 years ago when there was no FDK at all.

Sign in to comment.