Ontario spent about $766-million more than planned in the first quarter of this fiscal year, but the province’s bottom line is the same since nearly all of that new spending came from contingency funds.
In the financial update released today by Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, the deficit projection for 2023-24 remains at the $1.3-billion set out in the spring budget.
Revenues and expenses are largely unchanged from the budget forecast, though a detailed look at the expenses sets out $766.6-million in new program spending.
About half of that is to develop industrial land for large-scale manufacturing, with money also going toward policing, flood protection in Toronto, affordable housing in Ottawa and Ontario’s wine sector.
The vast majority of the $766.6-million comes from the contingency fund, which the budget set at $4-billion.
Ontario’s fiscal watchdog has been critical of what he called this government’s unusually large contingency funds, saying that type of accounting is not transparent.