STANDING COMMITTEE ON ESTIMATES
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES BUDGETS DES DÉPENSES
Tuesday 12 April 2016 Mardi 12 avril 2016
The committee met at 0904 in committee room 1.
The Clerk of the Committee (Mr. Eric Rennie): Good morning, honourable members. It is my duty to call upon you to elect an Acting Chair this morning. Just as a reminder, pursuant to standing order 117(b), the Chair of the Standing Committee on Estimates shall be a member of a recognized party in opposition to the government.
Are there any nominations for Acting Chair? Ms. Fife.
Ms. Catherine Fife: I’d like to nominate Cindy Forster as the Acting Chair for estimates committee.
The Clerk of the Committee (Mr. Eric Rennie): Does the member accept the nomination?
Ms. Cindy Forster: I do.
The Clerk of the Committee (Mr. Eric Rennie): Are there any further nominations? Seeing none, I declare the nominations closed and Ms. Forster elected Acting Chair of the committee.
Ministry of Finance
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Good morning, everyone. The committee is about to begin consideration of the estimates of the Ministry of Finance for a total of seven hours and 30 minutes.
As this is the first ministry before the committee, I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the purpose of the estimates committee is for members of the Legislature to determine if the government is spending money appropriately, wisely and effectively in the delivery of the service intended.
I would also like to remind everyone that the estimates process has always worked well with a give-and-take approach: On one hand, members of the committee take care to keep their questions relevant to the estimates of the ministry, and the ministry, for its part, demonstrates an openness in providing information requested by the committee.
As Chair, I tend to allow members to ask a wide range of questions pertaining to the estimates before the committee to ensure they are confident the ministry will spend those dollars appropriately.
In the past, members have asked questions about the delivery of similar programs in previous fiscal years, about the policy framework that supports a ministry approach to a problem or service delivery, or about the competence of a ministry to spend the money wisely and efficiently. However, it must be noted that the onus is on the members asking the questions to make the questioning relevant to the estimates under consideration.
The ministry is required to monitor the proceedings for any questions or issues that the ministry undertakes to address. I trust that the deputy minister has made arrangements to have the hearings closely monitored with respect to questions raised so that the ministry can respond accordingly. If you wish, you may, at the end of your appearance, verify the questions and issues being tracked by the research officer.
Are there any questions for members before we start?
Mr. Todd Smith: Madam Chair, would it be possible—and we’ve done this in the past—that when it’s available, we use the Amethyst Room, room 151, for the committee? Would that be something we could do this time through the Clerk?
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): We will look into it. When Ms. DiNovo, the Chair of this committee, is back, we’ll have her have some discussions with the Chair of social policy and see if we can work that out.
Mr. Todd Smith: Sure. We’ve done that in the past. There’s broadcast-quality equipment in that room, and I think it’s important for estimates committee that it’s broadcast outside of just this room. So thank you for that.
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Any other questions?
I’m now required to call vote 1201, which sets the review process in motion. We will begin with a statement of not more than 30 minutes by the minister, followed by statements of up to 30 minutes by the official opposition and 30 minutes by the third party. Then the minister will have a further 30 minutes for a reply. The remaining time will be apportioned equally among the three parties.
Minister, the floor is yours.
Hon. Charles Sousa: Thank you, Madam Chair. Good morning, everyone. I’m pleased to be here today before the Standing Committee on Estimates. I thank the members of the committee and the Chair for their participation.
Parliamentary oversight and approval of a government’s proposed spending are key elements of fiscal accountability in our parliamentary system. This government is committed to openness and accountability, so we welcome this opportunity to further describe our spending plans.
I would, therefore, like to begin by thanking my colleagues and staff at the Ministry of Finance who have worked hard preparing for today’s session.
The Ministry of Finance’s mandate is to promote a dynamic, innovative and growing economy and to manage the fiscal, financial and related regulatory affairs of the province of Ontario. In addition, it delivers revenue and benefits programs in support of a better future for Ontarians.
Through its mandate, this ministry actively promotes the government’s four overarching priorities:
(1) investing in people’s talent and skills;
(2) to strengthen retirement security;
(3) building modern infrastructure and transportation networks; and
(4) supporting a dynamic and innovative business climate.
We work with the Treasury Board Secretariat to manage the province’s $133.9-billion budget; to oversee $130.6 billion of revenues through taxation, business enterprises and non-tax revenue; and through the Ontario Financing Authority to manage the province’s $26.4-billion borrowing program.
This ministry also supports government-wide initiatives and provides key fiscal, taxation and economic policy. We manage the province’s federal-provincial financing arrangement and provincial debt, and we regulate the financing services sector through our agencies.
This government has maintained a disciplined focus on finding smarter and better ways to deliver the best possible value for every dollar spent, while continuing to invest in the economy, its people and a healthy, clean and prosperous low-carbon future. These investments are helping to enhance the public services that Ontarians rely on, as well as stimulate growth.
A growing economy and new jobs are the best ways to support Ontario families and generate revenues on the province’s path to balance and long-term prosperity.
Our efforts are bearing fruit. As outlined in the 2016 budget, the government is projecting a deficit of $5.7 billion in 2015-16. This is an improvement of $2.8 billion compared to the 2015 budget forecast, and $1.8 billion compared with the projection laid out in the 2015 fall economic statement. It’s also a vast improvement compared to previous years. This represents the province’s largest year-over-year reduction in the deficit in the last five years. Total revenue is projected to be $2.2 billion above the 2015 budget plan due to stronger overall performance as planned, beyond asset optimization.
I also want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that specific net revenue gains from the sale of those qualifying assets will be dedicated to the Trillium Trust, which will help support the largest single infrastructure investment program in our province’s history, including the initial public offering and the second tranche of the sale of Hydro One shares.
Furthermore, in the 2015 budget, we also included a positive impact of about $200 million in lower interest-on-debt expenses, resulting primarily from lower-than-forecasted interest rates, a lower forecasted deficit and cost-effective debt management. This means that Ontario is on track to beat its deficit target for the seventh year in a row. By continuing to beat its fiscal targets, Ontario’s accumulated deficit is $30 billion lower than it otherwise would have been.
The government is projecting a lower deficit in 2016-17, and total revenue is projected to increase between 2015-16 and 2018-19 at an average rate of around 3.9%. This is modestly lower than the forecasted growth of nominal GDP. Our outlook includes prudent assumptions related to the current federal government’s election platform commitments for additional funding for infrastructure, home care, and jobs and training.
We must all reflect and recognize that the global economy is moving towards pricing carbon. That is why in the 2016 budget we set the stage for Ontario to auction carbon allowances in 2017. Our proposed cap-and-trade program would help Ontario invest in green projects, support innovative companies and ensure that households and businesses thrive within the transition to a low-carbon economy. We will invest in initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while promoting opportunities for innovation, creating jobs and boosting economic growth, because we know that reducing the carbon footprint goes hand in hand with growing an efficient, competitive and productive economy.
The province’s program expense outlook is projected to grow at an average annual rate of about 1.9% between 2014-15 and 2018-19. This reflects the government’s commitment to invest in priority areas to enhance public services, support economic growth and the low-carbon economy and, of course, create jobs.
Given the low interest rates, Ontario has also been proactive in extending the term of its borrowing program. Extending the term to maturity allows the province to lock in those low interest rates for a longer period, which reduces refinancing risks and helps offset the impact of expected higher interest rates on the province’s future interest-on-debt costs.
Going back to the beginning of fiscal 2010-11, Ontario has issued over $54 billion in bonds with terms of longer than 30 years to lock in those low rates. As a result, the weighted average term of maturity for long-term provincial debt that was issued has been extended significantly, from 8.1 years in 2009-10 to 14.2 years in 2015-16.
The 2010 budget forecasted that by 2016-17, the province would have had to spend 11.7 cents for every revenue dollar received on interest. The current forecast is in fact 2.7 cents lower, at nine cents of interest cost for every dollar of revenue. This ratio is lower than it was in the 1990s and 2000s, and is forecasted to remain lower throughout the outlook period of 2018-19.
We are projecting that we will meet our commitment to return to balance in 2017-18, the result of a plan to eliminate the deficit that was first laid out in the 2010 budget. Achieving balance will put net debt-to-GDP on a declining track. The net debt-to-GDP ratio is forecasted to peak at 39.6% in 2015-16, remain level in the 2016-17 year, and decline to 38.9% in 2017-18 and 38.5% in 2018-19. We continue to maintain a target of reducing the net debt-to-GDP to its pre-recession levels of 27%.
With our economy expected to continue to grow just above 2%, and with the province’s ongoing commitment to transform government programs and services, Ontario is well positioned for long-term stability and is projecting to remain balanced in 2018-19. This commitment to finding savings has been a hallmark of our government since the onset of the global recession. Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, responsible fiscal management resulted in the province’s total expense growth being held to an average annual rate of 1.5%. This was achieved in a difficult economic environment. In addition, program spending has fallen to 16.4% of GDP in 2014-15, lower than the 17.9% reached in 2009-10.
Even with our planned investments, program expense-to-GDP is expected to fall to 15% by 2018-19. I’m proud to say that Ontario is the leanest government in Canada, with the lowest per capita program spending of any province in 2014-15, and we are projecting to remain so in 2015-16. We have achieved this—and this is important—while still ensuring that the programs and services on which Ontarians rely are valued and continue, and we have enhanced them.
I hope I have presented a brief but clear snapshot of our fiscal record and our projections for the near future. I’m confident that it demonstrates this government’s strong record of fiscal management and a prudent path to a balanced budget—and it is. We remain committed to achieving this goal by next year. We’re taking deliberate and responsible steps to achieve a balanced budget in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Our plan to eliminate the deficit includes transforming government and responsibly managing spending, ensuring revenue integrity and addressing the underground economy.
I’d like to briefly outline some of the steps we’re taking on these fronts. To transform government planning and budgeting, this government has created the Program Review, Renewal and Transformation, otherwise known as PRRT. It is designed around four key principles: examining how every government dollar is spent; using evidence-based decision-making to inform better choices and improved outcomes; looking across government to find the best way to deliver those services; and, lastly, taking a multi-year approach to find opportunities to transform programs and achieve those savings.
This is a continuous planning approach, focused on improving outcomes for government programs and services, to ensure they are effective, efficient and sustainable. It identifies the outcomes the government wants to achieve to ensure the best available evidence is made. This analysis informs the government’s decisions and tracks the performance of public services, to make sure Ontarians get the best results and value for money.
We are seeing results. In the 2015 budget, the government identified a number of major initiatives to modernize public services, improve outcomes for Ontarians and support the province’s fiscal objectives. We set a target of $500 million in savings for 2015-16.
The government is also transforming Ontario’s student aid for post-secondary education to make it transparent, timely and targeted to those students with the greatest financial need. The government will create a simple, integrated, upfront grant, the Ontario Student Grant, starting in the 2017-18 school year. More specifically, the 2016 budget stated that we will provide free tuition to college and university students from low-income families and provide better, more upfront financial support for students all across Ontario. Under the new Ontario Student Grant, we’re removing the barriers to pursuing or completing a university degree or college diploma. Average tuition will be free for more than 150,000 low- and middle-income students, including virtually all students whose families earn $50,000 or less. Tuition will also be free for more than half of the students from families with annual incomes of $83,000, the median family income in Ontario.
Over the coming year, this government will also continue to work with sector-level partners to help identify opportunities to support mutually beneficial bargaining outcomes that are consistent with the government’s PRRT priorities and the province’s fiscal plan.
Finally, the government’s path to balance includes addressing the underground economy and maintaining tax fairness. We continue to focus on underground economic activities in all high-risk sectors, and we will continue to take concrete action to better support consumer and worker safety, as well as provide a level playing field for legitimate businesses. Additionally, the government remains committed to addressing contraband tobacco through a balanced approach of partnerships and compliance activities.
These are just some of the things that the Ministry of Finance is undertaking as we take a fiscally sound approach to managing the province’s finances. I confirm that the Ministry of Finance’s fiscal estimates for 2016-17 are accurate and realistic. We will continue to work towards our goal of eliminating the deficit by 2017-18 while maintaining investments that create jobs, expand opportunities and enhance prosperity for all Ontarians.
I look forward to answering questions from the committee, but first, I would like to introduce my colleague the Honourable Mitzie Hunter, Associate Minister of Finance for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, to say a few words about our responsible plan to enhance retirement security.
Over to you, Mitzie.
Hon. Mitzie Hunter: Thank you, Minister Sousa. Good morning, everyone. I want to say thank you to the members of the Standing Committee on Estimates and to the Chair for this opportunity to speak with you today.
I’d like to start by thanking my colleagues and staff at the Ministry of Finance for their contributions and their hard work and support. I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak about the important work our government is doing to strengthen retirement security for the people of Ontario and workers across this province.
Our government made the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan one of the pillars of our economic plan because we believe that every worker deserves to have a secure retirement. Study after study, including ones from Canada’s major financial institutions like CIBC, RBC, BMO and Sun Life, show that too many Ontarians are not saving enough for retirement. Two thirds of Ontario’s workers do not participate in a workplace pension plan. If we look at younger workers, 75% between the ages of 25 and 34 do not participate in a workplace pension plan. Combine that with longer lifespans, shrinking personal savings and an average CPP benefit of just $6,900 per year, and it all adds up to an inadequate retirement savings system.
Without action, many of today’s workers may see a drop in their standard of living in retirement, and that’s not good for people, that’s not good for business and that’s not good for Ontario’s economy.
The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan will help close the retirement savings gap by providing Ontario workers with a predictable stream of income for life. That means that future retirees will have more disposable income to spend, supporting local businesses and the economy.
Let me be blunt: The ORPP is not a tax. Leading pension experts like Keith Ambachtsheer have been clear on this very point. The Globe and Mail called this idea “bogus phrasing,” and said, “This money is really deferred salary for workers to access in retirement.”
The ORPP is a sustainable plan, with benefits indexed to inflation so they maintain their value over time. The plan will also provide a survivor benefit, and unlike the CPP, the survivor benefit will extend to plan members who are single. Employers and employees will make equal contributions, ensuring fairness, and the ORPP will aim to replace 15% of an individual’s pre-retirement income.
Our goal is for every Ontario worker to be part of the ORPP or a comparable workplace pension plan by 2020. Over the past 18 months, we have made significant progress towards this goal.
Last year, I led an extensive consultation on key design features of the ORPP. I travelled to over 10 communities across the province and received over 1,000 written submissions. I heard from Ontarians in our rural areas, our northern communities and our biggest cities. Through this process, I spoke with employees, employers, associations, labour groups, pension experts, individuals and families. What I heard throughout these meetings was that people are concerned about their ability to save for retirement and that they want their government to show leadership on this issue.
We’ve received broad support from Ontarians, from big organizations like the Ontario Federation of Labour calling the ORPP “a big, bold step forward,” to small business owners, including one who, during a committee hearing last year, called ORPP “a reasonable cost,” given the benefit that it provides to our employees.
We’ve passed legislation. Last year, we introduced two pieces of legislation that lay out the foundation for the plan and the key design parameters. We’re tabling further legislation this spring which will outline the comprehensive plan design details of the ORPP and ensure that employers and employees across the province have the time and information they need to prepare for implementation.
We’ve also established the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Administrative Corp., the independent, arm’s-length entity which will be responsible for administering the pension plan and for managing the plan’s investments for the benefit of the plan beneficiaries.
Let me be clear: ORPP contributions and revenues will not form part of the government’s consolidated revenues. Instead, these funds would be held in trust by the ORPP AC; the government will not determine where and how contributions are invested.
In the November fall economic statement, the government announced the appointment of the initial board of directors for the ORPP AC. The board is led by Susan Wolburgh Jenah as chair, Murray Gold and Richard Nesbitt.
Accountability is at the core of the ORPP AC. Through a strong accountability and transparency framework, the board of directors and management team of the ORPP AC will be fully accountable to the plan members. Specific accountability and transparency measures will include an annual report, an annual meeting for beneficiaries, external auditing and strong financial controls.
We’ve benchmarked these measures against other major public sector pension plans, such as OMERS and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. A 2014 Boston Consulting Group study found these public sector plans created real economic benefits across the country by providing retirees with a predictable stream of income, increasing consumer confidence and putting more money into the economy.
The Conference Board of Canada recently conducted a cost-benefit analysis of the ORPP. The analysis confirms that both the economy and Ontarians would be better off with the ORPP. The Conference Board study found that the ORPP would add more than $39 billion to the economy in the long term, increasing to almost $63 billion when we also consider planned reductions in EI and WSIB premiums.
Businesses have told us that they need time to plan for the ORPP, and we’ve listened. This has been echoed by Allan O’Dette of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, who said recently that “government is listening to ... business ... as it moves ahead with the implementation of the ORPP.”
We’re helping businesses adjust, including enrolling employers in waves and phasing in contribution rates over time, starting with the largest employers first and giving small employers until 2019 before contributions begin. We’re also aligning implementation with expected reductions in EI and WSIB premiums. ORPP contributions will also be tax deductible.
Phased enrolment is an approach used when the federal government enhanced CPP in the 1990s. Pension expert Keith Ambachtsheer has pointed out that during this period, the national unemployment rate actually fell from 9.6% to 7.6%.
Strengthening the retirement income system is not only important to Ontario families; it is critical to the future prosperity of the province. As we move forward, Ontario is committed to working intensively and collaboratively with the federal government and our provincial counterparts to make progress on a national solution that addresses the needs of future retirees. By continuing with the preparation for the ORPP, the government is ensuring that if no consensus on CPP enhancement is reached, retirement security can be strengthened in Ontario through the ORPP.
We made a commitment to the people of Ontario to take action to enhance retirement security. That’s the kind of leadership Ontarians expect from their government. The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan would help narrow the saving gap for millions of people who lack the security of a workplace pension plan and enable more Ontarians to enter their retirement years with confidence.
Hon. Charles Sousa: I’d just like to take a few extra minutes—I know that we have some time remaining—to reiterate some of the highlights of our plan and the architecture of what our budget is about, recognizing the degree of advancements we have made since we were faced with a severe economic downturn globally and the reactions that our province took, as well as other governments around the world, including the federal government of Canada.
Our counter-cyclical policy was to invest heavily into those programs that would stimulate economic growth without hampering the abilities of Ontario families and to create those jobs. It has worked. It has enabled us to continue, now, to find greater sustainability going forward. I say that with confidence because we recognize that other parts of the world haven’t advanced as quickly as Ontario has in ways of job growth. We’ve outpaced the United States.
In fact, because of some of the issues that we’ve taken in order to maintain a very competitive business climate by maintaining our overall tax in the corporate system competitively, while also investing in infrastructure and ensuring that we create those jobs for those in the trades and elsewhere, it has had a huge ripple effect to the benefit of Ontario’s economic growth.
We have become the top destination in all of North America for foreign direct investment because we’ve also concentrated on innovative companies in highly valued sectors of our economy. We have the most diversified economy in Canada right here in Ontario, enabling us to weather those economic shocks. From biotech to industrial manufacturing—that’s still a mainstay of our province, ensuring that we support our mining and resource sector, which is also critical for us—we’ve looked at and have started to address the low-carbon economy at the early stages, to be advanced before others in that respect.
We’ve taken a strategic partnership. We’ve looked at social enterprise because we also want to maintain a very fair society in Ontario. Our financial services sector, legal sector, engineers and all the other parts of the sector that enable us to do some of these investments have attracted even greater desire and have enabled Ontario companies to use their services as exports to other parts of the world.
By doing this, we also recognize the need to look at red tape. We’ve made that Red Tape Challenge. We’ve looked at ways to reduce overall costs to businesses, enabling us to have partnership. That’s why the Business Growth Initiative that was a mainstay of our budget is prominent in the efforts that we make to enable that economic growth.
A dynamic business climate is critical. It’s why we’ve invested $400 million in initiatives such as the Perimeter Institute and the Advanced Manufacturing Consortium in colleges to fund for applied research in the clean tech equity funds, as well as to boost the auto sector which is also a primary effort in our overall strategy. As it advances to new value and new highly skilled initiatives, we also want those companies to be prominent.
So we will continue to take those steps. We will continue to invest in infrastructure to stimulate growth, with over $160 billion proposed over the next 12 years, of which $31 billion is in moving Ontario forward with public transit funded in part by the reinvestment of those assets that we’ve started to apply to make it of even more value. We recognize how important that is for ultimate growth.
Of course, our greatest resource is our young people, their skills and their talent. Enabling them to be at their best will foster even greater competitiveness for the province of Ontario. It is why we’ve provided for greater ease for those students to seek post-secondary education.
All the while, though, we must ensure that everyone pays their fair share. It’s why we are addressing tax avoidance measures and the underground economy. You must know that Ontario last year sourced close to $900 million as a result of the efforts that we’ve taken and led with the Canada Revenue Agency to seek out those measures and ensure that we collect. That has been taking place. We must do more, and it’s why we’re addressing the underground economy and why we’re addressing contraband tobacco, as an example.
Going forward, though, there are new economies before us—the sharing economy, for example. It is something that we’ve highlighted in this budget as well, to ensure that we level the playing field, foster innovation and support those businesses and, at the same time, have a coordinated approach with other governments and protect workers and consumers. It’s essential as we advance in this realm.
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Minister, you have two minutes.
Hon. Charles Sousa: Let’s keep in mind that the priorities for Ontarians are services like health, education and social programs. We are investing $1 billion more in health care. We are ensuring that we provide necessary vaccines, like the shingles vaccine, and cancer care supports, and greater funding for hospitals, home care, long-term care, hospice and palliative care. These are essential issues that we know we must maintain, and we are actually increasing supports to that.
Maintaining a fair society also means breaking the cycle of poverty, ensuring that we have greater supports for affordable housing, which we’ve put in this budget, that we support greater services for autism, and that we recognize the need to transform the system to enable more services at early years, providing social assistance and special needs, and we’ve increased the supports for that.
All in all, when we look at our fiscal numbers, our deficit is being reduced, we’re beating our targets and we’re coming to balance next year and the year after. Our GDP growth is outpacing all of Canada’s. We are one of the top, when you look at BC and Ontario. Our program expense is controlled, but we are increasing supports for health care, education, post-secondary, children and social services.
More importantly, our interest on debt is lower. It’s actually much more improved today than it has been in 25 years. Our accumulated deficit-to-GDP ratio is the same today as it was in 2003, at 25%. Our debt-to-GDP has peaked and is now going down, and it’s below what was estimated.
These are all good signs that ensure that Ontario is on its path to balance, that ensure that investors and the people of Ontario can have confidence in where we’re headed. Ontario families want to ensure that they have a secure job, they want to ensure that their kids can go to school, and they want to make certain that their moms and dads can get the services they need when they get into those late ages. That’s why health care is important. We’ll continue on our path to balance.
We would like to take questions at this point. Thank you, Madam Chair.
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Right on time. Thank you very much, Minister.
The official opposition: Mr. Fedeli. You have 30 minutes.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Thank you, Chair. Thank you, Minister and Associate Minister, for being here.
I won’t be using my 30 minutes to deliver a speech. I will speak for just a couple of moments. I think we are here to hear from the minister.
The associate minister spoke about the leadership that Ontario expects. Sadly, that’s not what we’re getting.
In the pre-budget consultations, which were attended by all three parties, it was extremely disappointing to learn that the translations of the budget were being done while the committee was still sitting. This pre-budget consultation was attended by all three parties. A lot of people travelled great distances to attend the meetings in Hamilton, Windsor, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Ottawa and again here in Toronto. To know that the budget was called early, while the pre-budget consultations were under way, meant that the budget was written. Although the government continued to deny that, it was discovered that the translations were indeed being done.
I think that’s insulting to all of those groups who travelled so far and spent their resources to attend these hearings when it was learned that the budget was already being translated. I think that’s insulting to not only the deputants but to the members of the committee—all three parties—who were led to believe that the work we were doing was going to be utilized. I wanted to begin with that, Chair.
Many of us spent a lot of time in this room for a different kind of committee. It was the gas plants scandal hearings; I sat in this chair for more than a year. We learned so much from the documents that we eventually obtained. One of those documents was key because the minister continues to talk about the path to balance. Let me tell you: One of the very first documents that we obtained—of course, Chair, these were finance documents that were never expected to be read by anybody outside of cabinet, but because of the extraordinary circumstances of the gas plants scandal, those documents were made public to us.
There was one confidential Ministry of Finance document that I begin with—again, a document meant only for cabinet that nobody ever would have presumed was going to be seen in the public—which told the truth. It said that for 2014-15 and 2015-16: not on track to meet the budget deficits. That’s the reality.
Only days after the ministry reading that statement and knowing the truth, the 2013 Ontario budget, on page 103, states that the government is on track to eliminate the deficit.
We were told one thing in the public and the Legislature, yet the government knew very well that that was not accurate. They have gone on that track for years, but the end of the day is coming soon.
They continue to talk about being on a path to balance, but we now know definitively that the only way they can now get to that path to balance is by selling assets to artificially prop up their balance sheet, masking the structural deficit that they have created.
We saw this frequently attested to by many, many sources. The budget document itself confirms that the government is using one-time money from the sale of Hydro One, as well as contingency funds, to make the deficit appear smaller. But make no mistake, Chair: In a couple of years—just after the next election, incidentally—once the one-time sales are exhausted but the spending continues, there will be and there is a massive hole in the budget. There is a structural deficit.
We’ve heard from the Financial Accountability Officer on that point, where he referred to the budget as “vague and uncertain,” and he reported, “Maintaining balanced budgets beyond 2017-18 will likely prove challenging....”
BMO Capital Markets described it this way: “Asset sales of $5.7 billion are ‘one-time’ in nature, and don’t address any underlying structural deficit.”
Chief economist and former deputy minister of many different ministries Bryne Purchase stated: “The added revenue from cap-and-trade and the Hydro One sale help to make provincial numbers look better.”
Chair, there’s a theme here from very senior people who are telling us and acknowledging, back in that 2013 ministry document, that they’re not on track to balance and that the only way they’re now doing it is through an asset sale.
The Financial Accountability Officer, in his first-ever report, entitled An Assessment of the Financial Impact of the Partial Sale of Hydro One, stated, “The initial 15% sale of Hydro One would significantly reduce the province’s deficit in 2015–16.” He’s on to these guys. He then goes on to say, “In years following the sale of 60% of Hydro One, the province’s budget balance would be worse than it would have been without the sale.”
Chair, he says that there will be immediate gains and a loss of revenue over the long term, that it will have a long-term negative impact on the province. He concludes that the money from the sale of Hydro One is being used to enhance the balance sheet of the budget and artificially mask the deficit. That’s what we know to be true from all of these sources.
I would start the questioning to the minister with this: Back in the 2014 budget, it promised Ontario an expenditure of $130 billion in infrastructure over 10 years. Did that 2014 budget of $130 billion include the sale of Hydro One?
Hon. Charles Sousa: Thank you. Let me respond to a number of things.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: I just asked one question.
Hon. Charles Sousa: I’m going to respond to the pre-budget consultations and our need to ensure we get as much input from Ontario families and the public—we did so. We all did that. I value the tremendous work that the finance committee did in going around the province, as did I when I sat on the finance committee to do just that. Of course, the associate minister did a trip across the province, as did I. We highlighted specifically what we did with respect to some of those consultations and applied them here. Furthermore, I came before this very committee—that being the finance committee—to ensure that I sought your advice.
Mr. Fedeli makes reference to the fact that he’s insulted—I was here; he wasn’t. He sent his memo via email to talk about nothing, other than to say, “Oh, my gosh. You guys should spend more and, by the way, balance the budget”—nothing more. At least the NDP gave us some concrete ideas.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Chair, am I going to get an answer to my question?
Hon. Charles Sousa: Furthermore—
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Minister.
Hon. Charles Sousa: —I will continue to proceed, and to do that.
I also want to reference another thing.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Chair, am I going to get an answer to my question?
Hon. Charles Sousa: The budget was not concluded, Madam Chair. She made reference to this very issue; I’m going to respond to them.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Chair?
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Minister.
Hon. Charles Sousa: The translation of a budget is an ongoing process.
Mr. Todd Smith: You’re here to answer our questions. Answer them.
Hon. Charles Sousa: And I’m going to answer them. I am.
The budget was not complete. I want to ensure that—
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Minister, it is the official opposition’s time. They’ve asked you one question; if you could please respond to that question.
Hon. Charles Sousa: I will. He asked if the budget had been complete; it was not. The budget was not completed until after—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: My question, Chair, was if the Hydro was included in the $130 billion.
Hon. Charles Sousa: No, you asked this. I’m responding to it.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: No, I never asked a question about that.
Hon. Charles Sousa: C.D. Howe Institute just referenced the integrity of our numbers and C.D. Howe, for the fourth year in a row, has indicated that Ontario is one of the leading jurisdictions in Canada for its reporting. It’s transparent.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Chair, I did not ask that question.
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Minister, Mr. Fedeli did not ask you to answer those questions. He actually asked for an answer to one question.
Hon. Charles Sousa: He asked about the $130-billion spending in our budget. C.D. Howe Institute referenced—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Chair, I asked if the Hydro One sale was included in that number. That’s all I asked.
Hon. Charles Sousa: Yes, and I’m going to respond to that. He referenced that the FAO admits that the ratio and the sale of Hydro One, which he’s referencing—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: I was talking about the 2014 budget, Chair.
Hon. Charles Sousa: —did not take into account the reinvestment of that value, which he now knows is actually much more improved than was estimated.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Chair, I asked a simple question.
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Minister, I’d like Mr. Fedeli to actually clarify his question.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: I asked a question: In the 2014 budget, was the sale of Hydro One included in the $130-billion infrastructure plan? It’s a very, very basic question.
Hon. Charles Sousa: And it’s an important question to note that the $130 billion, as we projected going forward, is a mainstay of our infrastructure plan.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: That’s not what I asked you.
Hon. Charles Sousa: To fund those plans, it’s a combination of our existing revenues, it’s a combination of existing debt restructuring, it’s a combination of our improved economy and it’s also a combination of the enablement of reinvesting certain assets.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: But I wanted to know if it was a combination of the Hydro One sale. That’s all I asked. It’s not complicated.
Hon. Charles Sousa: I’ll get to it.
When we introduced the Hydro One resale, we increased our overall budget spent accordingly. Thank you, Madam Chair.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: So I didn’t get an answer. I asked a simple question. In the 2014 budget announcement of the $130 billion, was the Hydro One sale included in that? It’s a very, very basic question.
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Minister?
Hon. Charles Sousa: Yes, and I’ve answered it. I said that when we introduced the asset optimization, we included those assets to be dedicated to the Trillium Trust to be used specifically for reinvesting, and we increased our overall investment from $130 billion over 10 years at that point to $160 billion over 12 years going forward. But I can—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: But that’s not what I asked, Chair.
Hon. Charles Sousa: I can bring in one of my colleagues to maybe make that more clear, if you would prefer.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Well, somebody has to answer. If you can’t answer the question, I’d love somebody to tell me.
Hon. Charles Sousa: I’ve made it very clear.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: No, you still haven’t answered. All I asked is a very simple—I’m speaking to the Chair.
Mr. Han Dong: I didn’t say anything. Why are you looking at me?
Mr. Victor Fedeli: All I’m asking is, was the sale of Hydro One included in the 2014 budget?
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Mr. Fedeli, would you like an answer from one of the finance staff?
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Please, please. It’s a very basic question.
Hon. Charles Sousa: In the 2014 budget we made clear that asset optimization was part of our strategy to go forward. We indicated that we would do so. We did so in 2015, and in 2016 we highlighted where that reinvestment is going: into Trillium Trust. I mean, it’s out there. It’s always been there. But if you want more to that, I can certainly encourage—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Yes, because I asked specifically about Hydro One.
Hon. Charles Sousa: Ladies and gentlemen, this is Ron Kwan, and he can express more effectively the fact that we are proposing infrastructure investment which includes—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: But that’s not what I’m asking.
Hon. Charles Sousa: —reinvesting of our assets.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: So I’ll ask you, sir—
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Mr. Kwan, could you state your name and title, please, for the record?
Mr. Ronald Kwan: I’m Ronald Kwan, ADM of corporate and electricity finance division, Ministry of Finance.
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Thank you. Mr. Fedeli.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Thank you very much, Chair.
Perhaps I can ask you: In the 2014 budget, is the Hydro One sale anticipated as part of the revenue for the $130-billion infrastructure?
Mr. Ronald Kwan: In the 2014 budget, the asset optimization plan was discussed. It was talked about as setting up the advisory council on government assets—
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Mr. Kwan, could you just move the mike closer or move closer to the mike?
Mr. Ronald Kwan: Oh, okay.
In the 2014 budget, at that time, the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets was appointed. It was discussed that they would be looking at optimizing various government assets, looking at various business enterprises, as well as looking at certain real estate assets. For the particular assets that were being looked at, there was not a particular decision taken at that point—there was no decision taken at that point.
When the advisory council reported back, by budget 2015, the discussion was that the Hydro One sale was being recommended by the advisory council. The government accepted that and it announced that the Moving Ontario Forward plan would be increased by $2.6 billion from $28.9 billion—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Yes. He’s talking about the 2015 and 2016 budgets. I’m talking about the 2014 budget. Did the projected asset optimization targets include, at that point, the sale of Hydro One?
Mr. Ronald Kwan: As I said—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Remembering that this is half a year in advance of Ed Clark’s report that called for the sale of Hydro One—let’s be very clear about that.
Mr. Ronald Kwan: The advisory council was being appointed to look at various assets to come forward with recommendations. At that point, there had not been a determination on what the recommendations were or what the government’s acceptance of—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Well, let me check the math here, then, because in the “dedicated funds for Moving Ontario Forward” chart—seeing as they don’t want to answer, I can perhaps offer some guidance, and perhaps you can direct.
In the 2014 budget, dedicated funds, the total projected asset optimization target for the first year was $1.1 billion, which is the sale of the GM shares. Am I correct in that? I have got a copy of the budget if you’d like to—
Mr. Ronald Kwan: Yes. The GM shares were the largest asset that was sold in that period. That would have accounted for the bulk of that projection, yes.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: So in 2014-15, $1.1 billion. The next year was $1 billion. The following year was half a billion, and the following year was a further half billion, for a total of $3.1 billion overall of those years. Is that correct?
Mr. Ronald Kwan: Yes. That was announced at that time and that was—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: So what month did the 2014 budget come out?
Mr. Ronald Kwan: I believe it was the end of April, beginning of May. I’d have to check.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: I’m sorry?
Mr. Ronald Kwan: I’d have to check the exact date.
Mr. Ronald Kwan: It was May 1.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Yes, of course. When was the sale of Hydro One announced?
Mr. Ronald Kwan: There was a two-stage recommendation and report from the Advisory Council on Government Assets. The original recommendation in November was for the sale of Hydro One’s distribution assets. Then in April 2015, they expanded it, having re-looked at the proposal, and recommended that all of Hydro One be sold.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: So in the 2014 budget, where $130 billion was announced, the sale of Hydro One at that time had not been anticipated.
Mr. Ronald Kwan: What was anticipated in the 2014 budget, and the comment was, that the advisory council would be looking at a basket of government assets, and it would be moving forward with recommendations. There was a view, given that large basket, that there would be a target of a total of $3.1 billion over a number of different years. That included the GM shares. It includes a basket of real estate assets to look at, as well as the government business enterprises. At that point, specific assets, in terms of asset optimization beyond the GM shares and a couple of real estate assets, had not been specified. But there was a target that was put in place at that time.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: That, Chair, was the point I was waiting to finally get to, that back in 2014, that $130 billion relied on the GM shares and the sale of the real estate assets that you spoke about. Now we know them to be, of course, the LCBO and the OPG. Those are the real estate assets you’re referring to.
Mr. Ronald Kwan: The LCBO head office had been announced previously.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Yes.
Mr. Ronald Kwan: It was mentioned that there would be other real estate assets, such as the OPG head office, that would be re-examined, and also that there would be a review of government business enterprises such as OPG, Hydro One and LCBO to maximize revenue. It did not specifically say what the recommendations that would be coming from the advisory—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: How could they, when the Hydro One sale wasn’t announced for a full year later? It would have been pretty hard to get to that when the sale hadn’t—either the government had already decided to make that sale, and I’m not sure that that’s the case, or that they announced it a year later.
The point here is, in the 2014 budget, you announced $130 billion of infrastructure, and a year later, you now need the sale of Hydro One to balance that 130. The point, of course, goes to the Auditor General, the Financial Accountability Officer and all of the other experts that they are now using the sale of Hydro One to ostensibly balance the budget. Yes, the money is first put into transit and infrastructure, but the money that was already budgeted, the $130 billion that was already budgeted, is now being taken out, and that’s the money that is being used. Is that not the case? Is that absolutely not the case? Are all these experts telling us that this is the case—is that true?
Hon. Charles Sousa: Yes, and I’ll respond directly.
In 2014, we made it very specific that we were looking at assets to reinvest into new assets. We outlined that we would do so. We gave those very numbers, as the member just outlined. In 2015, we had more solidification as to what those would be. In 2016, we’ve shown results from that.
Furthermore, our deficit targets improved, regardless of those asset sales. We actually outperformed, even without the asset sales, year over year.
When the member references c-funds and other things, I don’t think he recognizes or appreciates that this is prudence that was put into the system. Again, if we don’t use the c-fund, that means we’ve outperformed that as well.
That’s all that has happened here. The budget is a living document. It changes over time. We have specific initiatives that take place. At times, they outperform; at times, they don’t. That’s why prudence is built in.
In this case, we have taken deliberate steps and we have taken deliberate decisions to enable us to have greater value for those assets, and we have achieved that.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Chair, in the 2014 budget, it relied on only $3.1 billion, including $1.1 billion from the shares of GM, so only $2 billion more, over the course of the next three years. Yet the sale from Hydro One is monumental compared to that. In fact, in the last budget, they put far more than a billion dollars of the Hydro One money into the budget, which artificially lowered the deficit.
If the Hydro One money, Minister, wasn’t originally budgeted, then, in the 2015 budget, why didn’t the infrastructure total rise when it was included?
Hon. Charles Sousa: Actually, the infrastructure total did rise over time.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: In the 2015 budget.
Hon. Charles Sousa: We recognize—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: In the 2015 budget.
Hon. Charles Sousa: Regardless, as the results are ringing in, we took—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: No, no, no. It’s not “regardless”; that’s the question.
Hon. Charles Sousa: But it rose. We’ve increased our infrastructure spending—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: No, no, no. In the—
Hon. Charles Sousa: —from $29.5 billion to $31.5 billion because all these funds are dedicated to public transit and improving our infrastructure.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Chair, my question was very specific. I asked about the 2015 budget. You announced $130 billion in the 2014 budget. You reannounced $130 billion, precisely the same number, in the 2015 budget, yet it had all these extra billions from the Hydro One sale. Why didn’t that number go up? Why was it simply included?
Hon. Charles Sousa: I indicated earlier that we’re funding infrastructure through a combination of debt and repurposing of assets to ensure that we minimize our impact on our debt structure.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: So if you repurpose—
Hon. Charles Sousa: And as we move forward, we’ve also increased our overall infrastructure spend from $130 billion over 10 years to $160 billion over 12 years.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: If you repurpose—you’re talking about the 2016 budget; I’m back in 2014-15.
Hon. Charles Sousa: Well, you want to go back in time, then. We’re looking at—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: I want to look into what you did and what you told the people, because what you told the people is not what’s actually happening—
Hon. Charles Sousa: It’s right in here. It’s right in the estimates book.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: —and you know it. You got caught again. That’s why you want to talk about that.
Hon. Charles Sousa: Oh, please.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: And don’t “Oh, please” me.
Hon. Charles Sousa: Perry Mason—okay, pretty good.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: You got caught yet again. You told the public one thing when absolutely the opposite of that is the fact.
Hon. Charles Sousa: That’s not the fact; the fact is, we increased our spend—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: That’s exactly what has happened. If you—
Hon. Charles Sousa: —in our public transit from $29 billion—
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Minister, it’s Mr. Fedeli’s time.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: If you increased the optimization of your assets to put into that, then why didn’t that number grow in the 2015 budget? It stayed the same.
Hon. Charles Sousa: No, it didn’t. We increased our support—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Yes, it did. It’s $130 billion in both 2014 and 2015. It did not change. You made the same announcement; in fact, you used the same words: “seven and a half cents” a litre. All the same words are in the same paragraphs. It’s a cut and paste of 2014.
Hon. Charles Sousa: Madam Chair, we stated in the budget that we would be investing more than $130 billion going forward as our results are brought in, and that’s what we’ve done.
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Mr. Fedeli, you have about five minutes left.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Thank you very much.
I’m going to see if we can get a little deeper into this. It is now known—it has been laid bare—that you have taken the Hydro One money and put that into balancing your budget. That has absolutely and definitively been laid bare by the Financial Accountability Officer and other respected bodies who will tell us the truth about these numbers. That’s what we’re getting.
I don’t understand how you can put many billions of the Hydro One sale in the 2015 budget and not grow that number in the 2015 budget. You’ve copied and pasted the same text from 2014 into 2015, and now you’re backpedaling on that because you got caught again. That’s the definitive answer that we see from all of the authorities.
Hon. Charles Sousa: I’ll reply, again, Madam Chair, if he wishes.
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Mr. Fedeli, is that a question?
Hon. Charles Sousa: You’re asking the question again?
Mr. Victor Fedeli: No, that’s my statement on the 2014.
Hon. Charles Sousa: You’re not allowing us to state the facts.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Well, I’ve heard the facts from the Financial Accountability Officer.
Hon. Charles Sousa: This budget is a living document. It does have issues that change over time, and as we get proper results that are factual, we then institute them to relate to them. That is why we’ve reduced our projections.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Chair?
Hon. Charles Sousa: That’s why we’ve improved our deficit targets. Also, I’ve stated that we have actually improved our performance, regardless of those asset sales—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Chair, may I?
Hon. Charles Sousa: —which are dedicated to increase funds.
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Minister, you’ll have the opportunity in your reply.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Again, I take the minister’s point that it is a fluid document, and things change. But as things change, we would be expected, as members of the Legislature, to be told accurate information.
If indeed the revenue of the sale of Hydro One is now going into lowering the deficit, as the FAO and others have told us, then we should be told by the minister that that, indeed, is accurate. He continues to deny that that is what’s happening. Yet it’s very clear, by their own admission, that money is put into general revenue and the money that was already put in general revenue to fund transit is now taken out and is artificially lowering the deficit.
Why won’t the minister simply admit what everybody else already knows to be true?
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Is that a question?
Mr. Victor Fedeli: That’s a question: Why will the minister not admit what everybody else already knows?
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Minister.
Hon. Charles Sousa: Madam Chair, we have stated time and time again that we are maximizing the value of our assets. While we, in 2014, indicated that we would be looking at our assets, recognizing that some assets were very valuable and didn’t have greater benefit by repurposing them—the LCBO being one of them; OPG, where we have our power plants, being another—we recognized that Hydro One’s valuation was not at its peak. We noted that even if we were to split Hydro One into the LDCs, where we compete with 72 other companies versus the spine, it was more valuable by combining them and repurposing them, which is what we’ve done.
We further stated that any net gain from those assets would be dedicated to the Trillium Trust to be invested, dollar for dollar, in moving Ontario forward with our public transit initiatives. That’s exactly what we are doing.
Furthermore, the valuation to the public is increased, because it is noted that for every revalue that we put into new infrastructure—it nets out about 1.4 cents for every dollar invested, which is much greater than the previous performance of Hydro One—
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Thank you, Chair. I don’t disagree with what the minister is suggesting—
Hon. Charles Sousa: We have proceeded to do so, Madam Chair—
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Thank you, Minister.
Mr. Fedeli, you have two minutes to wrap up.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: There’s no question that what the minister is stating, in that part of that answer, is what they did; there’s no question about that. The question that I have is, why will he not admit to what everybody else knows? In Bill 144, the finance bill, which allows the government “to reimburse the crown for expenditures incurred by the crown,” which allows the money that came from the sale of Hydro One to be put into the Trillium Trust and to be disbursed into—
Mr. Han Dong: Point of order.
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Point of order, Mr. Dong.
Mr. Han Dong: According to the clock I see on the wall, that’s 30 minutes already.
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Well, we’re keeping time here, Mr. Dong. Thank you.
Mr. Victor Fedeli: Thank you, Chair. The money from the Hydro One sale that is put into the Trillium Trust can be used for infrastructure and transit. We understand what they’re doing. We may or may not agree, but we understand. But the fact that the money can also be used to reimburse the crown for monies already spent is the mechanism they’re using to pay for transit that was already budgeted for, and that money now has been used to reduce the deficit. Why will the minister simply not acknowledge what everybody already knows and has said publicly?
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): On that note, your time is up, Mr. Fedeli.
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): The time is up, actually, Minister. The 30 minutes is up.
We are now at seven minutes after 10. We have a housekeeping issue. Bill 173 is being debated in the House this afternoon, the budget bill. Under 60(e) of the standing orders, “No estimates shall be considered in the committee while any matter, including a procedural motion, relating to the same policy field is being considered in the House.”
Do we have the consensus of the committee that we will not meet this afternoon while the budget bill is being debated for two hours? The other option is that we do meet. If the budget bill is debated, then we would adjourn once we arrive here.
What’s the consensus of the committee? Is it option one: that we would agree here that we will not meet today?
Mr. Michael Harris: What’s option two?
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Option two is that we come here, and if the budget bill is then debated, we would adjourn this meeting. So either way, we won’t be meeting.
Ms. Catherine Fife: The budget bill is coming before us this afternoon. It’s time-allocated, right?
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Correct.
Ms. Catherine Fife: So we have no choice.
Mr. Michael Harris: No, we can’t meet in committee—
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): So there’s agreement that we will not be meeting this afternoon and that we will resume tomorrow after routine proceedings.
Yes, Mr. Baker.
Mr. Yvan Baker: Chair, I support that, but I’d propose, and maybe this is what you had in mind, that we adjourn now. Is that correct?
The Acting Chair (Ms. Cindy Forster): Yes. So we’re all in agreement with that, that we’ll adjourn now? Okay.
We won’t move on, actually. We only have five minutes. The third party can start their 30 minutes tomorrow after routine proceedings.
Thank you so much. We’re adjourned.
The committee adjourned at 1010.
Tuesday 12 April 2016
Ministry of Finance E-715
Hon. Charles Sousa
Hon. Mitzie Hunter
Mr. Ronald Kwan
STANDING COMMITTEE ON ESTIMATES
Chair / Présidente
Ms. Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale–High Park ND)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente
Miss Monique Taylor (Hamilton Mountain ND)
Mr. Grant Crack (Glengarry–Prescott–Russell L)
Ms. Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale–High Park ND)
Mr. Han Dong (Trinity–Spadina L)
Mr. Michael Harris (Kitchener–Conestoga PC)
Ms. Sophie Kiwala (Kingston and the Islands / Kingston et les Îles L)
Mr. Arthur Potts (Beaches–East York L)
Mr. Todd Smith (Prince Edward–Hastings PC)
Miss Monique Taylor (Hamilton Mountain ND)
Mr. Glenn Thibeault (Sudbury L)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Mrs. Laura Albanese (York South–Weston / York-Sud–Weston L)
Mr. Yvan Baker (Etobicoke Centre / Etobicoke-Centre L)
Ms. Catherine Fife (Kitchener–Waterloo ND)
Ms. Cindy Forster (Welland ND)
Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes
Mr. Victor Fedeli (Nipissing PC)
Clerk / Greffier
Mr. Eric Rennie
Staff / Personnel
Mr. Jeff Parker, research officer,