Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Ontario Finance Minister urges Ottawa to put transfer-funding help in budget

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa speaks with the media following federal-provincial Finance ministers meetings Dec. 16, 2013 in Chelsea, Que.


Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa is calling on the Harper government to make sure its upcoming budget helps the province out with more federal funding for health, education and social programs.

Sousa has fired off a letter to his federal counterpart Jim Flaherty over what the provincial government says is a $641-million cut in so-called transfer payments for the current budget year.

He says Ontario is the only province to face such a drop, and he contends it also won't get special transition funding to bridge the shortfall.

Story continues below advertisement

Sousa writes that the transition funding – which Ottawa says was a temporary measure ending this year – should be included in the federal budget, which is to be handed down Tuesday.

Premier Kathleen Wynne has accused the Tories of balancing their books on the backs of Ontarians by cutting the amount of federal dollars returned to the province.

The decline comes from a drop in payments to Ontario under equalization, a program aimed at allowing less prosperous provinces to provide residents with a similar level of services as richer provinces.

Federal officials have said the amounts are adjusted year-to-year based on a province's economic strength, and that Ontario's share has changed because its economy improved relative to other "have-not" provinces.

But Sousa's letter says the province needs a "reliable and consistent" source of funding to help it grow the economy through projects such as the Ring of Fire.

"Ontario has always been, and continues to be, a net contributor to the federation. At a minimum, Ontario hopes to see the transition funding in your next budget to ensure fairness for Ontario families," states Sousa's letter sent on Sunday.

In a statement, Flaherty fired back by charging the Ontario government is trying "to blame the federal government for their own fiscal troubles."

Story continues below advertisement

Flaherty said the shift in transfer payments is "exactly how equalization is supposed to work and the Wynne governments knows that."

Report an error

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at