This afternoon, Ontario’s Finance Minister, Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy, delivered the first fiscal report of the Ford Government’s second mandate. Billed by the government as the first-ever progress report on its plan to build Ontario, the Fall Economic Statement (FES) made clear the government will keep pursuing the economic agenda it laid out in the March 2022 Budget and on which it was re-elected in June 2022.
True to the report’s title, Ontario’s Plan to Build: A Progress Update, today’s FES spends nearly as much time highlighting the progress made-to-date on the 2022 Budget’s priorities as it does laying out new programs and initiatives.
The FES is a legal obligation, providing an update on the annual Budget about halfway through the fiscal year. In recent years, these updates have often served as “mini-budgets,” introducing new programs, tax breaks, or other policies to address changed economic conditions, fiscal situation or (in truth) political circumstances. Arguably, economic conditions have changed since the 2022 Budget was unveiled in March. Yet, as the first fiscal review from a newly re-elected government, the continuity signaled by today’s FES should not come as a surprise. Had the Ford government moved too radically from its platform this soon after re-election, it could have raised a red flag to investors, financial markets, and others that the economic headwinds Ontario is facing are much stronger than people are forecasting.
Below, we have broken down the numbers that were delivered today, along with a summary of the key progress reports and significant new initiatives.