News Release

Ontario’s Government for the People Restoring Trust and Accountability with Release of the Line-by-Line Review

September 25, 2018

A Modernized, More Sustainable Government will Transform Province’s Finances

TORONTO – Ontario’s Government for the People is continuing to take action to restore trust and accountability in the province’s public finances. Today, the Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, announced the much anticipated release of EY Canada’s line-by-line review of government spending, Managing Transformation – A Modernization Action Plan for Ontario. The document reveals rapid expenditure growth across key sectors and public programs under the previous government.

“I would like to thank EY Canada for their expert analysis of the past 15 years of government spending,” said Bethlenfalvy. “This detailed analysis of Ontario’s current spending will help us build a modern, more sustainable government while avoiding job cuts. Together we are creating a roadmap that embraces innovation, while ensuring that we achieve better fiscal outcomes for the people of this great province. Expenditure management is the means toward that end, but it is not the end in and of itself.”

The line-by-line review is based on extensive analysis of government financial and program data, and builds on the work of Ontario’s Auditor General and the Financial Accountability Officer. The report identifies a number of ways the government could transform programs and services to ensure sustainability and value for money.

The report includes:

  • An analysis of government spending, spanning the fiscal period 2002/03 to 2017/18
  • An overview of direct and transfer payment spending in five major sectors: health and long-term care; children, community and social services; education; justice; and post-secondary and training
  • Recommendations to improve value for every tax dollar it spends and ways to track whether those investments are delivering productive results.

Key findings reveal that since fiscal 2002/03:

  • Ontario’s total operating expenditures have increased by 55 per cent or $2,226 per person in today’s dollars
  • Had expenditures increased in line with population growth, 2017/18 expenditures would have been $31.9 billion less, and in total, would have been $331 billion lower over 15 years
  • Growth of total operating expenditures has outpaced Ontario population growth by 1.9 per cent
  • Operating expenditure through transfer payments including to the broader public sector has grown $46.3 billion, or 99.8 per cent of total real growth in operating expenditures.

“We are taking important steps to get Ontario back on the road to fiscal health, and we will continue to be open and transparent about the state of Ontario’s finances,” added Bethlenfalvy. “To move forward we must restore trust, and that means giving Ontarians the confidence that they can trust their government’s administration of the province’s finances. That’s why we have reflected the advice of the Independent Financial Commission of Inquiry in the recently released 2017-18 Public Accounts and commissioned the line-by-line review.”

The government will carefully review the areas highlighted by the line-by-line review and use this information to inform strategic changes to service delivery planning as part of the multi-year planning process. This report will help make government more effective and efficient, and will ensure all government spending is delivering the best value for the people of Ontario.



  • The line-by-line review complements the Planning for Prosperity online consultation.
  • This consultation provided Ontarians with the opportunity to rank the importance and effectiveness of a range of government services, and to suggest new ideas to transform the way those services are delivered, which has gathered over 15,000 submissions from Ontarians across the province, and the Big Bold Ideas Challenge, which gathered over 1,500 ideas from Ontario Public Servants.
  • The Public Accounts of Ontario outline the province’s financial performance for the past fiscal year, present Ontario’s audited financial statements, and look back at Ontario’s revenues and expenses, assets and liabilities.
  • The Independent Financial Commission of Inquiry conducted a report.
  • Ontario has the highest subnational debt of any jurisdiction in the world. The line-by-line review will establish a more sustainable baseline to ensure a fiscally healthy government for future generations.






Hayden Kenez
Minister’s Office

Kate Vrancart
Treasury Board Secretariat Communications Branch

Treasury Board Secretariat