Ontario to Detail Asset Report Before April 23 Budget

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Ontario will release details of a report on how to maximize the value of provincial assets such as electric utility Hydro One Inc. ahead of a provincial budget on April 23.

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Advisory Council on Government Assets has been reviewing provincial businesses from a liquor monopoly to power plants and earlier recommended the sale of the province’s electricity distribution operations. The council is led by former Toronto-Dominion Bank Chief Executive Officer Ed Clark.

“Very soon, Ed Clark will be bringing his report forward and we’ll be commenting on that,” Wynne said Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg in Quebec City.

A “large component” of the budget will include the report, Finance Minister Charles Sousa said in Toronto.

“We’ll have that report available and detailed prior to the budget,” Sousa said Tuesday during a press conference announcing the budget date. “It is such a large component of what it is that we’re going to have in our budget.”

The deficit of Canada’s most-populous province will be about C$10.9 billion ($8.7 billion) for the 2014-15 fiscal year, the Ministry of Finance said March 31, compared with an original target of C$12.5 billion. The Liberal government won an election last year promising to eliminate the deficit by the 2017-18 fiscal year.

“We are being disciplined and determined to balance the budget by 2017-18,” Sousa said. “We’ve exceeded our targets year over year for the past five years. In fact, we’ve exceeded our target this year again by C$1.6 billion.”

An initial report in November by the council, said the province could free up as much as C$3 billion for transportation and transit by selling stakes in its electricity-distribution businesses.

The government is considering selling a 10 percent to 15 percent stake in Hydro One in an initial public offering, the Globe and Mail reported March 10.

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