Fraser Institute News Release: Ontario government spending reached highest level on record in 2020 at $11,558 per person

TORONTO, Feb. 28, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Per-person (inflation-adjusted) program spending in Ontario reached its highest level on record at $11,558 in 2020 (excluding COVID-related spending, per-person spending was $10,226 that year), finds a new report published today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“A useful way of measuring a government’s fiscal policy is by reviewing per-person (inflation-adjusted) program spending by various Premiers,” said Tegan Hill, senior economist with the Fraser Institute and co-author of Ontario Premiers and Provincial Government Spending.

This study reviews annual per-person program spending (inflation-adjusted) by Ontario premiers from 1965 to 2021, and finds that the highest single year of per-person spending on record was under Premier Doug Ford in 2020.

Excluding the unusual 2020 year which included emergency COVID-19 related spending, the highest year of per-person (inflation-adjusted) spending was 2010 under Dalton McGuinty at $11,522.

Overall, (excluding John Robarts whose full tenure is not included due to data limitations), Ernie Eves oversaw the highest rate of average annual per person spending growth (5.4 per cent)—however, Eves only served as premier for two fiscal years—followed by David Peterson (4.0 per cent), and Dalton McGuinty’s government had the third highest average annual rate of per person spending growth at 2.9 per cent.

Premier Ford’s government has overseen the fourth highest rate of average annual per person spending growth at 2.4 per cent.

“The intention is to provide a historical analysis of this key measure of government fiscal policy,” said Hill.

“It will be important to see how per-person inflation-adjusted program spending develops moving forward.”

Ben Eisen, Senior Fellow
Fraser Institute

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit