First-quarter finances show province still on track to balance budget

Ontario's first-quarter finances show the government is still on track to balance this year's budget.
   
A bilateral agreement between Ontario and the federal government on early learning and childcare gives the government both $145 million in new revenue and expenses.
   
Other new spending includes $85 million to clean up the mercury-contaminated English-Wabigoon River system in northern Ontario, nearly $15 million in compensation for flooding of Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation reserve land, as well spending on famine relief efforts in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria.
   
That funding is coming out of contingency funds.
   
The spending on interest on debt is $11.6 billion, which is what was projected in the budget.
   
As of July, private-sector forecasters on average, projected Ontario's real GDP will increase by 2.7 per cent this year, up from the 2.4 per cent projected in the budget.