Ontario projects $7.5-billion deficit for next year

Ontario is projecting that its deficit for next year will be $7.5 billion, as the Liberal government maintains it can eliminate the deficit by 2017-18.

The deficit currently sits at $10.3 billion and in the spring budget, the government predicted the 2015-16 deficit would be $8.5 billion.

In the fall economic update, the government says non-tax revenue, including the net revenue from the recent Hydro One initial public offering, is projected to be about $1.1 billion higher than in the budget.

Interest on debt is also now forecast to be $140 million below the estimate in the budget because of low interest rates.

The province’s net debt is still projected to nearly hit $300 billion by March 31, 2016, though the current projection is now slightly lower than the estimate in the budget.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa also announced that the government will establish a committee to look at improving the representation of women on boards and in senior executive positions, as well as a committee on the sharing economy, encompassing ride-hailing services such as Uber.