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PBO: Ontario projects to run budget deficits until 2095

According to a report from the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO), Ontario is projected to run budget deficits until at least 2095.

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According to a report from the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) which examined federal, provincial, municipal and public pension obligations, Ontario is projected to run budget deficits until at least 2095. The report incorporated analysis of municipalities and unfunded public pension obligations in its assessment because both are the responsibility of the province.

During the presentation of Ontario’s budget for 2021, provincial Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy predicted that Ontario would be on track for a balanced budget by the year 2030. In contrast to the PBO report, the Finance Minister's analysis only examined direct provincial obligations and spending, without factoring in debt from municipalities.

While day-to-day operational budgets for municipalities cannot run deficits, they can nevertheless  rack up debt for the completion of ‘capital’ projects, for which the province, and the taxpayer, is liable. If Ontario's government were to deliver a balanced budget by 2030, the PBO still forecasts that annual payments on debt interest will exceed $180 billion by the year 2095.

The federal government either won’t return to a balanced budget until 2070 under the status quo, according to PBO supplementary data released in its most recent Fiscal Sustainability Report. They project another $2.7 trillion in debt before balancing the budget in 2070. This is in addition to the current $1 trillion in existing federal debt. Interest charges will cost taxpayers about $3.8 trillion by 2070.

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