OTTAWA — The Parliamentary Budget Officer says changes to federal equalization payments makes Ontario the big loser among provinces, while Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick gain double-digit increases.
The report finds total equalization payments transfers from Ottawa to the provinces and territories rose about 3.5 per cent this fiscal year.
But the distribution is wildly different from province to province, with Ontario seeing a 37.3 per cent decline, or about $1.2 billion.
Meanwhile, Quebec will see transfers under the program increase 17.5 per cent, Nova Scotia, 11.5 per cent, and New Brunswick by 10.2 per cent.
The report notes that the federal government this year chose to stop a program ensuring no province receives less in a given fiscal year in combined transfers than it received in previous years.
The PBO says Ontario would have been the only province to qualify in 2014-15, hence has missed out on $640 million in revenues.
The Ontario Liberal government has been vocal in complaining that Ottawa is shortchanging the province, but the federal government has said it has been fair in calculating transfers.