Ontario Economic Update May Include Costs Cuts, Duncan Says

Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said he will release an economic update this month that may include cost cuts to address “uncertain” times.

“There will be difficult decisions, difficult choices,” Duncan told reporters today after a speech in Toronto at a conference hosted by the Ontario Securities Commission. “I think everybody’s going to have to put a little bit of water in their wine as it were to deal with the realities that have changed in the last several months.”

Duncan, who reiterated Ontario is on target to meet its budget deficit forecast this year, said Canada’s largest province will need to make “adjustments” based on market conditions. Ontario needs to focus on spending to address “very real challenges.”

“We are looking at some monumental change in how we do business,” Duncan said in his speech.

Ontario’s rate of economic growth rate will be “modest for an extended period,” Duncan told reporters.

Europe is very uncertain, the economy in the United States is not growing as quickly as most people thought it would just six short months ago,” Duncan said. “Those are very real, and they impact very much on our statements, on our revenues and our expenditures.”

Ontario’s financial update may include input from a commission announced in last year’s budget to reform the province’s public service. The recommendations of the commission, led by former Toronto-Dominion Bank Chief Economist Don Drummond, will help develop the 2012 budget, Duncan said. Drummond will present his early findings to Premier Dalton McGuinty on Nov. 3, the minister said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Doug Alexander in Toronto at dalexander3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net

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