Ontario relegated to “negative” credit watch

For immediate release:
December 16, 2011

BRANTFORD — MPP Toby Barrett says it’s time the Ontario government took action on its negative credit rating by Moody’s Investor Services.
Yesterday, Moody’s warned that Ontario’s credit rating could be downgraded unless it takes serious steps to deal with the mounting deficit in its next budget. Downgrading the credit rating could mean the cost of borrowing money would become more expensive.
“The Opposition has been calling on Premier McGuinty to get his finances in order for some time,” Barrett said. “We need definitive financial action now to prevent Ontario from finding itself in the same crumbling financial situation of many European countries.”
Ontario is also the only province to have its credit rating downgraded by credit rating services DBRS, as well as S&P.
When Finance Minister Dwight Duncan blamed the situation on international economic turmoil, Opposition Leader Tim Hudak replied: “That would only make sense if all provinces were in roughly the same fiscal and economic shape – but they’re not.”
Barrett noted that Ontario’s deficit is larger than all other provinces combined, even though it represents just over a third of Canada’s economy. “Time and again we advised the Premier to take immediate steps to start cleaning up this mess,” Barrett said. “We pressed for a review of all government programs. We urged a public sector wage freeze.”

Other economic indicators place McGuinty’s economic management as among worst-in-class, according to Barrett:

– Ontario has lost 43,600 full-time jobs since the October election. The rest of the country has added 6,400
– Ontario’s unemployment rate has now been above the national average for five years
– Ontario ranks 15th out of 16 comparable North American jurisdictions in GDP per capita
– Ontario’s debt-to-GDP ratio has been the worst in the country four years running

Ontario has more than a half-million people looking for jobs. Barrett was in Brantford today to call on the government to fix the province’s apprenticeship program. Ontario currently has one of the highest ratios of apprentices to journeymen. For instance, Ontario regulations require five journeyman carpenters for every apprentice. In many other provinces, that ratio is as low as 1:1 or 2:1.

“Modernizing the apprenticeship system is an action we can take today to create 200,000 skilled trade jobs,” Barrett said. “We should also give community colleges a greater role in linking students with employers.”

For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at: (416) 325-8404,
(519) 428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629