Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced he will deliver his budget on April 23, just two days after the federal Conservative government tables a budget that federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver says will be balanced.
Ontario is facing a massive debt. It is projecting a $10.9-billion deficit, and will not balance its books until 2017-2018.
In addition, there will be nothing in the upcoming budget to reflect Premier Kathleen Wynne's announcement Monday that Ontario is joining Quebec and California in a cap-and-trade system.
The government has put no figure on how much revenue will be raised from the new scheme. It is expected to take officials about six months to design it but there are estimates it could raise between $1-billion and $2-billion a year, depending on the price of carbon credits, according to sources.
"It's not built into our fiscal plan," Mr. Sousa told reporters. He was speaking at an event at Ryerson University in downtown Toronto Tuesday morning.
Mr. Sousa said that his ministry has made some assessments as to what amounts may be raised but he is not releasing them. He repeated Ms. Wynne's assertions that any revenues raised will be ploughed back into initiatives that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
Meanwhile, he emphasized that next week's budget will address the so-called infrastructure deficit – and boasted that it will be one of the "most progressive budgets" in the province's history.
A centrepiece of the fiscal plan is expected to be the money raised from the partial sale of Hydro One. He and Ms. Wynne have said they will use the funds from the sale to pay for infrastructure projects, including public transportation, roads and bridges.
Ed Clark, the former CEO of Toronto-Dominion Bank, is advising the government on this as well as how to squeeze more money from two other Crown corporations, the LCBO and Ontario Power Generation.
Mr. Sousa said Tuesday that the Clark report will be released publicly prior to the budget.
"It is such a large component of what it is we're going to have in our budget," he told reporters Tuesday. He wouldn't give a date but there is speculation that Mr. Clark's report will be made public later this week.