Ontario Government Saves Taxpayer Dollars Through Year-End Expenditure Management and Ending March Madness Spending

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Government builds on commitment to spend smarter by saving $153 million

August 29, 2019 10:10 A.M. Treasury Board Secretariat

TORONTO — Today, Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, announced that Ontario's government has saved taxpayers $153 million through year-end expenditure management measures and by taking new measures to curb March Madness spending, which governments sometimes see at the end of the fiscal year as ministries attempt to spend the remainder of their budgets.

"Since day one, our government has been focused on directing spending to the programs and services that matter most to the people of Ontario - like our healthcare and education systems," said Bethlenfalvy. "These measures, and the significant savings they have helped to generate, underscore our government's commitment to achieving the best possible value for taxpayer dollars."

In February 2019, all ministries were directed to limit spending to existing commitments under contract or legislation, or to requirements needed to fulfil core services from mid-February until March 31, 2019 (the government's fiscal year end). Ministries were also directed not to enter into any new funding commitments, including spending from within their approved budgets, unless the ministry had sought and received specific direction to do so from the Treasury Board.

In total, the government saved $153 million by implementing new, year-end expenditure management reductions and measures that curb March Madness spending. In particular, ministries spent less on things like:

  • Transportation (including mileage and accommodations);


  • Communications (including publications and printing, cellphones and landlines);


  • Supplies and equipment (including furniture, fixtures, stationery and office supplies).

"Our government was elected with a mandate to restore sustainability to the province's finances," said Bethlenfalvy. "We owe it to our children, and our children's children, to put structures in place that protect the key services that Ontario families and individuals rely on."

Ontario's government is fulfilling its commitment to respect taxpayer dollars and spend smarter by cutting waste, leveraging new technologies and removing duplication and inefficiency from government.

To date, these initiatives include centralizing government procurement, adopting digital and new technologies and introducing the Audit and Accountability Committee, which will oversee internal audit services and ensure more scrutiny and discipline in our fiscal process.

Quick Facts

  • For fiscal year 2018-19, year-end spending was $153 million less than the budgeted spend – about a 11% reduction. These reductions are a result of reductions in operating expenditures, not from salaries or transfer payments.


  • The Province of Ontario’s debt is currently in excess of $343 billion. Interest on the debt costs the provincial government more than $1 billion a month, or $34 million a day.


  • Through a comprehensive multi-year planning process, the government has found efficiencies and is delivering additional savings beyond the 2018-19 fiscal year while providing relief to Ontario individuals, families and businesses.

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