Open Letter to Minister Phillips regarding Ontario’s Economic and Fiscal Update

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Hon. Rod Phillips

Minister of Finance

7th Floor, 7 Queen’s Park Cres.

Toronto, ON M7A 1Y7

Dear Minister Phillips,

I’m writing to request that you release an economic and fiscal update to the public ahead of August 15th. Ontarians have not had an update from your government since March 25, a few weeks after the start of the pandemic, and deserve to know the real picture of the economic impact of the province’s shutdown. August 15th is too long to wait for an evaluation of spending decisions during this crisis and plan for the recovery.

We are calling on the government an updated Fiscal and Economic Outlook by July 15th. This is one week after the federal government’s July 8th release of their fiscal and economic snapshot. Millions of Ontario workers have been negatively impacted by this crisis and families need support.

While our province is in the midst of responding to an unprecedented public health and economic crisis, our colleagues in the Legislatureat Queen’s Park are being asked to make urgent decisions based on information from March, not the current economic reality.

The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) managed to release their economic analysis in May, showing Ontario in a sharp recession projecting a 9% decline in real GDP this year, and a record $41 billion deficit, which is twice as large than your Government’s projections in March.

The Government of Ontario needs to be transparent and accountable. You need to show how much support you are providing in direct new spending, and what the road to economic recovery will look like.

The release of an updated Fiscal and Economic Outlook by July 15th is urgently needed.

Premier Ford has emphasized time and time again that his government is transparent, and will do anything to protect families in the COVID-19 pandemic. In that spirit, the Ministry of Finance ought to be transparent and update the province on Ontario’s fiscal situation as soon as possible, so that we can have the appropriate services and supports Ontarians need for the economic recovery.

I thank you for the work that you and your colleagues are doing in the Jobs and Recovery Committee.  I look forward to continuing to work together with you as we restart Ontario’s economy and recover from the pandemic.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. I look forward to a favourable response and would be happy to discuss this request with you further at your earliest opportunity.

Sincerely,

Mitzie Hunter

MPP Scarborough-Guildwood