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Ontario Government Releases Modernization Action Plan With Line-By-Line Review

Ontario Government Releases Modernization Action Plan With Line-By-Line Review

On September 25, 2018, the Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Ontario Treasury Board, announced the release of EY Canada’s line-by-line review of government spending, Managing Transformation – A Modernization Action Plan for Ontario. The document reveals rapid expenditure growth across key sectors and public programs since 2002.

“This detailed analysis of Ontario’s current spending will help us build a modern, more sustainable government while avoiding job cuts. Together we are creating a roadmap that embraces innovation, while ensuring that we achieve better fiscal outcomes for the people of this great province. Expenditure management is the means toward that end, but it is not the end in and of itself.” Said Bethlenfalvy.

The line-by-line review is based on extensive analysis of government financial and program data, and builds on the work of Ontario’s Auditor General and the Financial Accountability Officer. The report identifies a number of ways the government could transform programs and services to ensure sustainability and value for money.

The report includes:

  • An analysis of government spending, spanning the fiscal period 2002/2003 to 2017/2018
  • An overview of direct and transfer payment spending in five major sectors: health and long-term care; children, community and social services; education; justice; and post-secondary and training.
  • Recommendations to improve value for every tax dollar it spends and ways to track whether those investments are delivering productive results.

Key findings:

  • Ontario’s total operating expenditures have increased by 55 percent or $2,226 per person in today’s dollars.
  • Had expenditures increased in line with population growth, 2017/2018 expenditures would have been $31.9 billion less, and in total, would have been $331 billion lower over 15 years
  • Growth of total operating expenditures has outpaced Ontario population growth by 1.9 percent
  • Operating expenditure through transfer payments including to the broader public sector has grown $46.3 billion, or 99.8 percent of total real growth in operating expenditures.

The government has stated it will carefully review the areas highlighted by the line-by-line review and use this information to inform strategic changes to service delivery planning as part of the multi-year planning process.

Quick Facts

  • The line-by-line review complements the Planning for Prosperity online consultation.
  • This consultation provided Ontarians with the opportunity to rank the importance and effectiveness of a range of government services, and to suggest new ideas to transform the way those services are delivered, which has gathered over 15,000 submissions from Ontarians across the province, and the Big Bold Ideas Challenge, which gathered over 1,500 ideas from Ontario Public Servants.
  • The Public Accounts of Ontario outline the province’s financial performance for the past fiscal year, present Ontario’s audited financial statements, and look back at Ontario’s revenues and expenses, assets and liabilities.
  • The Independent Financial Commission of Inquiry conducted a report.

Additionally, with respect to asset management, the report suggests that the province adopt a more structured, centralized, and effective asset management lifecycle process. Currently, each ministry manages its own capital assets, either directly or through contracted arrangements. By centralizing the management approach of real property and implementing regular reporting on the utilization of assets, the report suggests that on-going service delivery modernization, cost efficiency, and shareholder management strategies can improve at the provincial level.

The full report can be found here.