View Full Version : Wynne: Mandate Letters

09-26-2014, 09:17 AM
Here they are: http://www.ontario.ca/government/mandate-letters

Ontario will slash the number of government agencies and end duplication in the public sector as it struggles to eliminate the deficit in three years.

These plans were laid out Thursday in Premier Kathleen Wynne’s mandate letter to Deputy Premier Deb Matthews, who is directing the government’s budget-cutting efforts.

“You will…transform and modernize public sector service delivery while protecting vital public services,” Ms. Wynne wrote. “You will drive efficiencies and reduce costs to achieve our commitment to eliminate the deficit by 2017-18.”

The instructions came the same day a Conference Board of Canada report warned the province must make even more cuts than it is currently planning if it is to eliminate the deficit on time. The report estimated future government revenues will be lower than Finance Minister Charles Sousa is projecting.

Ms. Wynne released all 30 mandate letters she has written her ministers. The missives are effectively marching orders that detail what the Premier expects each minister to work on during their tenure.

Ontario premiers have used such letters since at least the early 1990s, but this is the first time they have been released publicly.

“I want people to know their government is working for them, but I also want people to know what their government is doing,” Ms. Wynne said following a cabinet meeting in Sudbury, Ont., where she distributed the letters. “I want people to know that the plan we ran on [in the spring election] is reflected in the missions I’ve now given to our ministers.”

Most of Ms. Wynne’s instructions were previously announced in the 2014 budget – if not earlier – but the letters are meant to itemize them in more straightforward way.

Ms. Matthews and Finance Minister Charles Sousa will likely have the toughest jobs, trying to hold the line on spending while simultaneously revving up the economy with infrastructure spending.

Among other things, Ms. Matthews is expected to cut the number of agencies by 30 per cent compared to 2011 levels. Agencies range from regulatory boards, such as the Alcohol and Gaming Commission, to service providers, such as Legal Aid and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.

She is also tasked with reforming the government’s information technology system to digitize more of the bureaucracy’s operations, hold the line on wage hikes in union negotiations and implement more of economist Don Drummond’s cost-cutting recommendations.

The government last year had to burn through a contingency fund Mr. Sousa built into the budget because tax revenues came in lower than expected.

And the Conference Board warns future revenues will also likely not match projections. The Conference Board, for instance, estimates economic growth in 2017-18 will be 0.6 per cent lower than the government does, and the province will run a deficit that year of $2.4-billion instead of reaching balance. To compensate for the lower revenue, the board says, the province will have to constrain health, education and other spending even more than it is now.

Despite this warning, the government is not planning to change its revenue projections. Mr. Sousa’s spokeswoman said its estimates are already conservative enough as it is.

“When we make our projections, we consult private sector economists and take a slightly more cautious view as we move forward in crafting the provinces fiscal framework,” Susie Heath wrote in an email.

In addition to chopping spending, the government has jacked up income taxes on people making over $150,000 per year. It is also considering whether to sell off part of electricity agencies or the LCBO.

The letters contained few surprises. But they did outline some policy areas that have received little attention in recent months, including the government’s plans for dealing with climate change.

In her directions to Environment Minister Glen Murray, Ms. Wynne orders him to figure out how to reach the province’s target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 15 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. In a report this summer, provincial environment commissioner Gord Miller warned the province will miss that target if it doesn’t cut down on emissions from transportation.

The note to Mr. Murray also orders him to listen to craft a climate change strategy that will guide the province until 2050.

09-26-2014, 09:23 AM

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said Friday he would get rid of 100,000 public sector jobs if he wins the June 12 election to reduce the size and cost of government and help create new private sector jobs, something Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne called “disastrous.”

The PCs would also axe a number of programs and agencies — the 30% post-secondary tuition break, the seniors Healthy Home Renovation Tax Credit, Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), and Drive Clean, he said.

Hudak said he believes Ontarians are ready for some “straight talk” on what it will mean to balance the books, as he has promised, by 2016.

“It’s not going to make me happy,” Hudak said.

Some jobs will transfer to the private sector as the government gets out of certain activities such as cafeteria and information technology services, he said.

Many positions will not be filled when people retire.


Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne said her government has invested in education, research and business partnerships to create jobs and boost the economy.

She said Hudak believes there will be more jobs if he fires teachers and cuts back on education.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said he’d end generous subsidies for wind and solar power, cut the “bloated” bureaucracy at Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation to help get electricity rates low enough to generate 40,000 new jobs.

After announcing plans last Friday to trim 100,000 public sector jobs, Hudak also said he would reduce the number of provincial electricity agencies created after the breakup of the old Ontario Hydro.

Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne says Hudak’s plan for the province would plunge Ontario back into a recession.

Wynne says Hudak’s “reckless” election campaign pledge to shrink the public sector by 100,000 jobs would “sacrifice our fragile economic recovery.”