The Ontario economy has been and continues to boom according to first quarter results of 2016, to be growing at an annualized rate of three percent, the highest in Canada and all G7 countries.
Premier Kathleen Wynne stated that Ontario’s real gross domestic product grew 0.8 percent in January to March, after having similar growth in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Wynne said on Monday, “I’m very pleased that Ontario’s economy posted strong growth in the first quarter, stronger growth than we had expected in our budget, and that’s a very important signal that Ontario is on the right track.”
She added that Ontario’s first-quarter gains were as a result of higher exports and increased household spending.
“I just think that we need to let that sink in, that Ontario is growing at a faster rate than Canada, the United States and all other G7 countries,” she said.
“And it was widespread. It wasn’t just focused in one sector.”
Wynne further mentioned that the Liberal government is assured that the growing economy will permit it to get rid of a $5.7 billion deficit in fiscal 2017-18, as initially promised.
“We’ve beaten our targets year over year, and we’re on track to eliminate our deficit next year,” she said.
On the other hand, the New Democrats claimed that the Ontario economy wasn’t as lovely a picture as the Liberals are painting, and cautioned the government plans to eliminate the deficit by cutting health-care services.
NDP finance critic Catherine Fife asserted that “Their promise is to balance the books by overcrowding our hospitals, firing thousands of health-care workers, and creating a $3-billion backlog in critical repairs to hospitals.”
“The story behind their numbers shows that … the number of people working in temporary jobs, without benefits or even sick days, has increased more than twelve times faster than people with stable, permanent jobs.”
Wynne commented that Ontario’s economy will remain one of the fastest growing in Canada over the next two years, which means more jobs right across the province.
“Our unemployment rate in Ontario has been below the national average for more than a year, and in June it fell to 6.4 per cent, and that’s the lowest since September 2008,” she said.
“And these job gains are not confined to the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area.”
Charles Souza, the finance minister stated that Ontario would not like to compete with low-wage jurisdictions that drove away many of the manufacturing jobs that used to form the basis of the province’s economy.
“Ontario has become a top destination for foreign direct investments many years running,” he said. “It’s not by accident … it’s because we are replacing traditional manufacturing with other forms of manufacturing, agri-food processing, etc.”
According to Wynne, the momentum of Ontario’s growth served as an encouragement, especially with various uncertainties in the global economy.
“I don’t want to leave the impression that I think that Ontario’s operating in a vacuum and somehow we’ve figured out something nobody else has figured out,” she said. “I just want to provide some context: we’re in a good position in this globally uncertain environment.”