Nevertheless, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa complained on Thursday that the federal government underfunds Ontario. The complaint is part of a political effort by some Ontario politicians and others to distract Ontarians from the real issue: made-in-Ontario policy that is killing investment and jobs in that province and creating massive provincial deficits.
On the Ontario finance minister's complaint, Sousa argues Ontario's federal transfers will fall by $1.2 billion this year. Actually, that's the decrease in equalization payments to Ontario. Overall, total federal transfers to Ontario will indeed drop, but only by $650 million.
That's less of a problem then claimed, especially after accounting for population. On a per person basis, Ontario will receive $1,403 this year. That is marginally less than last year ($1,464 per person), though it is a lot less than Quebec ($2,387) New Brunswick ($3,464), Manitoba ($2,625) Nova Scotia ($3,202) and Prince Edward Island ($3,735).
On the other hand, Ontario's $1,403 per person help from Ottawa is up from $870 per person in 2005/06; the increase results from Ontario's six-year have-not equalization status. It is higher than British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan where the per person transfer to each province is $1,258.
The Ontario government complains its transfers are down. But Newfoundland and Labrador, which will receive $1,282 per person this year, once received $2,992 per person (in 2005/06), back when it collected equalization and offshore accord payments from Ottawa.
Ontario's Financial Problems Are Ontario-Made | Mark Milke