Research

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The Decline of the Other Alberta Advantage: Debt Service Costs in Alberta Are Rising

Summary

  • Throughout recent history, Albertans have enjoyed a substantial fiscal advantage other Canadian taxpayers, resulting from the fact that government debt interest payments in Alberta have been far lower than in any other province.
  • For example, in 2007/08, Alberta’s provincial government spent just $61 per person on debt interest payments. The other nine provinces had to spend between $521 and $1,476 per person servicing debt.
  • This fiscal advantage has saved Alberta’s taxpayers billions of dollars each year in the recent past.
  • Alberta’s debt interest payments were so low because the province carried very little debt. Until 2016/17, Alberta was “net debt free,” meaning that its financial assets were greater than its liabilities.
  • In the most recent fiscal years, however, Alberta’s net asset position has flipped from positive to negative and the province is quickly racking up debt.
  • As a result of rapid debt accumulation, the cost of servicing Alberta’s debt is quickly catching up with other provinces. Current projections suggest that by 2020/21, Alberta’s debt service payments per person will exceed British Columbia’s and will be approximately 70 percent as large as Ontario’s.
  • If Alberta’s pace of debt accumulation continues at a similar rate in subsequent years, Alberta will join Newfoundland & Labrador and Quebec (and possibly Ontario) as the only provinces paying more than $1,000 per year in per-capita debt interest payments.
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The Private Cost of Public Queues for Medically Necessary Care, 2018

Summary

  • One measure of the privately borne cost of wait times is the value of time that is lost while waiting for treatment.
  • Valuing only hours lost during the average work week, the estimated cost of waiting for care in Canada for patients who were in the queue in 2017 was about $1.9 billion. This works out to an average of about $1,822 for each of the estimated 1,040,791 Canadians waiting for treatment in 2017.
  • This is a conservative estimate that places no intrinsic value on the time individuals spend waiting in a reduced capacity outside of the work week. Valuing all hours of the week, in-cluding evenings and weekends but excluding eight hours of sleep per night, would increase the estimated cost of waiting to $5.8 billion, or about $5,559 per person.
  • This estimate only counts costs that are borne by the individual waiting for treatment. The costs of care provided by family members (the time spent caring for the individual waiting for treatment) and their lost productivity due to difficulty or mental anguish are not valued in this estimate. Moreover, non-monetary medical costs, such as increased risk of mortality or ad-verse events that result directly from long delays for treatment, are not included in this estimate.
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The Cost of Pipeline Constraints in Canada

Main Conclusions

  • Despite the steady growth in crude oil available for export, new pipeline projects in Canada continue to face delays related to environmental and regulatory impediments as well as political opposition.
  • Canada's lack of adequate pipeline capacity has imposed a number of costly constraints on the nation’s energy sector including an overdependence on the US market and reliance on more costly modes of energy transportation. These and other factors have resulted in depressed prices for Canadian heavy crude (Western Canada Select) relative to US crude (West Texas Intermediate) and other international benchmarks.
  • Between 2009 and 2012, the average price differential between Western Canada Select (WCS) and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was about 13 percent of the WTI price. In 2018 (based on the first quarter data), the price differential surged to 42 percent of the WTI price.
  • From 2013 to 2017, after accounting for quality differences and transportation costs, the depressed price for Canadian heavy crude oil has resulted in CA$20.7 billion in foregone revenues for the Canadian energy industry. This significant loss is equivalent to almost 1 percent of Canada’s national GDP.
  • In 2018, the average price differential (based on the first quarter) was US$26.30 per barrel. If the price differential remains at the current level, we estimate that Canada’s pipeline constraints will reduce revenues for Canadian energy firms by roughly CA$15.8 billion in 2018, which is approximately 0.7 percent of Canada’s national GDP.
  • Insufficient pipeline capacity has resulted in substantial lost revenue for the energy industry and thus imposed significant costs on the economy as a whole, and will continue to do so. This reaffirms Canada’s critical need for additional pipeline capacity.
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Expansion of the Canada Pension Plan and the Unintended Effect on Domestic Investment

Beginning in 2019, mandatory contributions by Canadian workers to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) will increase, step by step, over seven years. While the expansion of the CPP may be well intentioned, it will result in several unintended consequences. One consequence is a reduction in the amount that Canadians save voluntarily in their private accounts such as RRSPs and TFSAs. Previous research has found that, when mandatory CPP contributions were raised in the past, there was a concurrent reduction in private voluntary savings.

The substitution of savings away from private voluntary modes to the CPP will have important consequences, one of which will be a reduction in the amount of money available for investment in Canada. This is likely to occur because, unlike the financial assets held by Canadian households, the portion of CPP contributions that are invested is heavily invested abroad. Indeed, the vast majority of invested CPP contributions, which are managed and invested by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), are invested in foreign markets. For instance, in 2016/17, 83.5% of the CPP fund’s assets were invested abroad, while only 16.5% were invested within Canada; and the foreign share has steadily increased over time. Canadian households, on the other hand, demonstrate a greater “home bias” towards the location of their savings and financial assets, with 82.2% of their financial assets being invested within Canada, while only 17.8% are invested abroad.

As Canadian households are forced to increase their CPP contributions, they will reduce their levels of private saving, and the majority of those substituted private savings would have been invested within Canada. This means that there will be a reduction in the amount of money available for investment in Canada, compared to what would have been the case if the CPP was not expanded.

The reduction in the money available for investment in Canada as the CPP expands will depend on the extent to which Canadian households reduce their private voluntary savings in response to higher mandatory CPP contributions. The effect of past CPP expansion suggests the substitution rate will be 89.5%, meaning that every additional dollar of CPP contributions will result in a reduction in private savings of 89.5¢. Based on this rate of substitution, in 2019, investment in Canadian funds would be lower by approximately $1.13 billion (all figures are in nominal dollars). By 2030, five years after the CPP expansion is fully implemented, the annual reduction in the financial assets invested by Canadian households in the domestic market will be $14.8 billion. Under a scenario where Canadian households offset 75% of their increased CPP contributions with reductions in their private voluntary savings, in 2030 Canadian household assets invested in the domestic market would be approximately $11.8 billion lower. In a scenario where households offset their higher CPP contributions with a 50% reduction in private savings, in 2030 the amount of money available for investment in Canada would fall by approximately $6.5 billion.

Over time, the annual reductions in assets available for investment in Canada will add up. By 2030, depending on the extent to which increased CPP contributions are offset with reduced private savings, the cumulative reduction in these assets could range from $49.9 billion to $114.4 billion.

A decline in investment within Canada will have negative effects on the Canadian economy, as investment is critical to making workers more productive, increasing wages and improving living standards. The decline in investment will also come at a time when business investment in Canada is already decreasing and lagging behind other industrialized countries.

To be clear, the authors do not recommend imposing domestic investment requirements on the CPPIB in response to the CPP expansion and the resulting reduction in the money available for investment in Canada. When the CPPIB is allowed to invest free of any domestic requirements, it is able to invest more broadly into assets which generate the highest risk-adjusted rate of return. This is generally positive (assuming risks are properly accounted for), since it enhances the performance of pension funds. Instead, the recommendation is that governments can help offset the looming reduction in domestic investment by pursuing policies that encourage investment in Canada. This includes policy reforms such as reducing capital gains taxes and lowering taxes on business investment to help spur investment. Indeed, such tax policies are sound and effective independent of the reductions in domestic investment that will result from the CPP expansion.

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Is the Canada Health Act a Barrier to Reform?

Despite spending more on health care than the majority of developed countries with universal-access health-care systems, Canada performs poorly in international comparisons of the performance of health systems. Canada’s health policies also differ from those of other nations with universal-access health care—in particular, those that have the developed world’s best performing universal systems—in a number of ways. These include policies affecting private involvement in the insurance and delivery of core medical services, patient cost-sharing, dual practice by physicians, and activity-based funding for hospitals. Evidence of how Canada’s health-care system underperforms coupled with concerns about its fiscal sustainability in the future suggest the need for policy reform.

Canadian health-care policy, including decisions about what services will be provided under a universal scheme, how those services will be funded and remunerated, who will be permitted to deliver services, and whether those services can be partially or fully funded privately is determined exclusively by provincial governments in Canada. However, the federal government influences provincial decisions to a significant degree by exercising its federal spending power through the Canada Health Act (CHA), a financial act that defines the terms and conditions under which provincial governments will retain access to their full portion of the Canada Health Transfer, valued at $37.2 billion in 2017/18.

The analysis presented in this publication suggests the CHA raises a significant financial barrier to a number of health-policy choices that would align Canada’s approach to universal health-insurance policy more closely with those of the developed world’s best performing universal systems. Some of these policies—for example, cost sharing by patients—are explicitly disallowed by the CHA and enforced by the threat of non-discretionary financial penalties. Some policies are only explicitly disallowed under certain conditions: for example, private parallel insurance sharing the cost of medically necessary services with the public insurance plan, but not necessarily otherwise.

Most of the policies pursued by the more successful universal health-care systems are, however, not explicitly disallowed but may be interpreted by the government of the day to contravene certain aspects of the CHA. For example, a parallel and fully independent private insurance system, for-profit hospitals, and dual practice by physicians are not explicitly prohibited by the CHA, so long as care provided in the public scheme remains accessible to all under uniform terms and conditions without cost sharing. Nevertheless, each of these could potentially, although not necessarily, be interpreted by the government of the day as contravening certain criteria of the CHA.

A key concern with the CHA, therefore, is its vagueness about a number of policy options that might be pursued by provincial governments. Only about user charges and extra billing is the CHA reasonably clear on what is, and what is not, permissible if provinces wish to retain access to their full portion of the Canada Health Transfer. Outside these areas, and even to some extent within them, the CHA’s vagueness leaves determinations of permissibility for a range of policies up to the federal government of the day, creating not only a present lack of clarity for provincial policy makers but also questions about what might be disallowed in future by governments with a different view of a particular policy. It is not surprising, then, that provinces appear to have taken a risk-averse approach, with a number of common provincial policy choices going well beyond what is explicitly required by the CHA for full access to federal cash transfers.

To the extent that the federal government is interested in seizing the opportunity to replicate in health care the success of the welfare reform of the 1990s, it would need to reform the CHA, remove ambiguity to minimize uncertainty and the potential for politically motivated interpretations of the act, decentralize decision making by encouraging provinces to be less reliant on federal transfer payments, and allow greater policy flexibility for provincial governments, which are directly accountable to patients and payers. Doing so would bring greater accountability to the health-care system and free the provinces to innovate and experiment with policies commonly found in other countries with more successful universal health-care systems. The likely result would be improved timely access to quality care regardless of a patients’ ability to pay.

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Time for Tax Reform in Ontario

Over the past fifteen years, Ontario’s provincial economy has struggled relative to the rest of the country. The reasons for Ontario’s economic weakness are complex and varied. However, public policy choices have been a contributing factor.

One area that stands out as a particularly strong candidate for reform is tax policy. Specifically, Ontario’s personal income tax (PIT) system undermines Ontario’s economic competitiveness and therefore hinders economic growth. With seven brackets and high marginal rates, Ontario’s PIT discourages a wide range of productive activities and makes it more difficult for Ontario to retain and attract higher-earning individuals. These problems are compounded by the fact that Ontario’s PIT is not competitive with peer jurisdictions in North America. Ontario has the second highest top marginal PIT rate in North America (combined federal/provincial or federal/state) at 53.53 percent.

This study presents an outline for tax reform in Ontario which would transform the province’s uncompetitive PIT system, while also reducing the province’s Corporate Income Tax (CIT) to make Ontario a more attractive destination for investment and entrepreneurship.

The paper examines the status quo in Ontario, and Ontario’s competitiveness in a North American context when it comes to both personal and corporate income taxes. Specifically, we show that Ontario’s PIT system is uncompetitive in the North American context, while the once strong corporate income tax advantage Ontario until recently enjoyed compared to the United States has for the most part disappeared.

The paper also describes an outline for policy reform, which includes replacing Ontario’s seven-bracket PIT system with a single-rate PIT in which all taxable income is taxed at a rate of 8 percent. The reform outline presented here also would lower the CIT from 11.5 percent to 8 percent.

Taken together, the PIT and CIT reforms outlined in this paper would create an important advantage for Ontario’s economy by making the province one of the most attractive tax jurisdictions in North America with respect to the taxation of both personal and corporate income. As a result, these changes would help create an economic environment in which businesses, entrepreneurs, and other skilled workers are better incentivized to work, invest, and create opportunities.

With new competitiveness pressures emerging from the United States, the advantages of policy reforms that make Ontario more attractive for investment and human capital are particularly pronounced at this moment in history.

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Report Card on British Columbia's Elementary Schools 2018

The Report Card on British Columbia’s Elementary Schools 2018 collects a variety of relevant, objective indicators of school performance into one, easily accessible public document so that anyone can analyze and compare the performance of individual schools. By doing so, the Report Card assists parents when they choose a school for their children and encourages and assists all those seeking to improve their schools.

The Report Card helps parents choose
Where parents can choose among several schools for their children, the Report Card provides a valuable tool for making a decision. Because it makes comparisons easy, it alerts parents to those nearby schools that appear to have more effective academic programs. Parents can also determine whether schools of interest are improving over time. By first studying the Report Card, parents will be better prepared to ask relevant questions when they visit schools under consideration and speak with the staff.

Of course, the choice of a school should not be made solely on the basis of any one source of information. Web sites maintained by the British Columbia Ministry of Education and local school boards can provide useful information. Parents who already have a child enrolled at the school can provide another point of view. And, a sound academic program should be complemented by effective programs in areas of school activity not measured by the Report Card. Nevertheless, the Report Card provides a detailed picture of each school that is not easily available elsewhere.

The Report Card encourages schools to improve
The act of publicly rating and ranking schools attracts attention, and this can provide motivation. Schools that perform well or show consistent improvement are applauded. Poorly performing schools generate concern, as do those whose performance is deteriorating. This inevitable attention provides one more incentive for all those connected with a school to focus on student results.

The Report Card, however, offers more than incentive: it includes a variety of indicators, each of which reports results for an aspect of school performance that might be improved. School administrators who are dedicated to improvement accept the Report Card as another source of opportunities for improvement.

Some schools do better than others
To improve a school, one must believe that improvement is achievable. This Report Card provides evidence about what can be accomplished. It demonstrates clearly that, even when we take into account factors such as the students’ family background, which some believe dictate the degree of academic success that students will have in school, some schools do better than others. This finding confirms the results of research carried out in other countries. Indeed, it will come as no great surprise to experienced parents and educators that the data consistently suggest that what goes on in the schools makes a difference to academic results and that some schools make more of a difference than others.

Comparisons are the key to improvement
By comparing a school’s latest results with those of earlier years, we can see if the school is improving. By comparing a school’s results with those of neighbouring schools or of schools with similar school and student characteristics, we can identify more successful schools and learn from them. Reference to overall provincial results places an individual school’s level of achievement in a broader context.

Comparisons are the key to improvement: making comparisons among schools is made simpler and more meaningful by the Report Card’s indicators, ratings, and rankings. Comparisons among schools can be made more easily by using the Institute’s school rankings website.

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Canadians care about the state of their environment. Over the past few years, several reports have presented Canada as an environmental laggard, ranking it near the bottom of the list of OECD countries. But we regard the methodologies behind these studies as flawed: they unfairly represent Canada’s environmental performance in some respects and do not always use the most meaningful and relevant performance measures. We therefore sought to develop an improved and transparent methodology that would allow us to measure and compare environmental performance among OECD countries.

This report presents the Fraser Institute’s first edition of Environmental Ranking for Canada and the OECD, in which we rank 33 high-income countries across two broad objectives: protecting human health and well-being; and protecting ecosystems. We calculate an overall Index of Environmental Performance, which is a composite measure based on 17 indicators that measure 9 core categories. Under the objective, protecting human health and well-being, we examine air quality, water quality, and greenhouse gases. Under the objective, protecting ecosystems, we consider six core categories: air emissions, water resources, forests, biodiversity, agriculture, and fisheries. In order to construct the index, we assign equal weight to composite indicators of the protection of human health and well-being and to indicators of the protection of ecosystems. The index scores range from zero to 100. A higher index score means a jurisdiction has a stronger environmental performance while a lower index score indicates a weaker environmental performance.

The overall scores range from a low of 34.8 for South Korea to a high of 78.9 for Sweden, with an average of 62.9 across all 33 high-income countries. Canada performs relatively well, obtaining an overall score of 68.5 which places it 10th out of 33 high-income OECD countries. Canada ranks behind Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, France, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In contrast to the studies that used what we consider to be flawed methodologies, our method shows that Canada performs better than the majority of high-income OECD countries on environmental protection.

For air quality (under the objective, protecting human health and well-being), Canada performs well and ranks 9th among the 33 high-income OECD countries, based on the two indicators—average exposure to fine particulate matter and exceedances of fine particulate matter. Iceland is the best performer. For water quality, Canada also performs well and ranks 3rd out 33 countries based on the two indicators that assess the health risks posed by water pollution: access to improved sanitation facilities and access to improved water sources.

For greenhouse gases, Canada ranks 31st for its carbon intensity (CO2 emissions per unit of GDP) and 24th for its ability to reduce its carbon intensity over a decade. However, it ranks 6th based on low-emitting electricity production, which measures the share of total electricity generated by low emitting sources of energy, that is, renewables and nuclear.

Canada ranks 29th based on its sulphur (SOX) emissions intensity, which measures SOX emissions generated per unit of activity, but on this measure nearly all countries have very good scores and there is little difference between Canada and the top-ranked countries. Canada’s SOX emission intensity declined by almost 53% from 2004 levels, which was better than the average reduction across the OECD countries (51.7%).

Canada ranks 23rd for its wastewater treatment rate and 6th for the intensity of use of its water resources. On the latter measure, only Latvia, Norway, Iceland, Luxembourg, and the Slovak Republic perform better than Canada.

Despite preserving its forest cover over a decade, Canada ranks 28th because forest cover has expanded somewhat in many other countries. Chile, with the most significant increase in its forest cover over a decade, is the best performer while Portugal, with the most significant decline in its forest cover, is the poorest.

Canada ranks 10th out of 32 countries for the number of species at risk and 32nd out of 33 countries for the percentage of its terrestrial land designated as protected areas.

Canada has a good record on environmental issues related to agriculture. Canada ranks 3rd on fertilizer use (nitrogen) and 8th on pesticide use. Only Iceland and Australia perform better than Canada and use less fertilizer.

Indicators such as these do not, on their own, imply a need for looser or tighter policies. Even where Canada ranks below the mid-point, recommendations to change environmental policies need to be based on comparisons of costs and benefits. Any particular ranking on any particular scale can be consistent with a country having appropriate environmental standards.

The main implication of this report is that Canada is not an environmental laggard as other re-ports have claimed. Canadians enjoy high levels of environmental quality in absolute terms and in comparison to our OECD peers. In specific areas where our ranking is low, it is sometimes unavoida-ble due to our geography or climate, and in other cases it reflects the tight distribution of outcomes among the world’s wealthiest nations. In many areas of environmental quality that matter the most to Canadians, we compare favourably to the rest of the OECD and, by implication, the rest of the world.

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Report Card on Alberta’s Elementary Schools 2018

The Report Card on Alberta’s Elementary Schools 2018 reports a variety of relevant, objective indicators of school performance. These indicators are used to calculate an overall rating for each school. On the basis of this rating, the schools are ranked. The Report Card brings all of this information together in one easily accessible public document so that anyone can analyze and compare the performance of individual schools. By doing so, the Report Card assists parents when they choose a school for their children and encourages and assists all those seeking to improve their school.

In Alberta, many parents enjoy considerable choice regarding the school in which they will enroll their children. Where choice is available, the Report Card provides a valuable decision-making tool. Because it makes comparisons easy, the Report Card alerts parents to nearby schools that appear to have more effective academic programs. Further, parents can determine whether schools of interest are improving over time. By first studying the Report Card, parents will be better prepared to ask relevant questions when they interview the principal and teachers at the schools they are considering. Of course, the choice of a school should not be made solely on the basis of a single source of information. A tour of each school of interest and an interview with the principal can be useful. Parents who already have a child enrolled at the school provide another point of view.

The Report Card provides a detailed picture of each school’s academic outcomes that is not easily available elsewhere. Naturally, a sound academic program should be complemented by effective programs in areas of school activity not measured by the Report Card.

Certainly, the act of publicly rating and ranking schools attracts attention. Schools that perform well or show consistent improvement are applauded. The results of poorly performing schools generate concern, as do those of schools whose performance is deteriorating. This inevitable attention provides an incentive for all those connected with a school to focus on student results.

However, the Report Card offers more than incentive: it includes a variety of indicators, each of which reports results for an aspect of school performance that might be improved. School administrators who are dedicated to improvement accept the Report Card as another source of opportunities for positive change.

Knowing that a school’s results require improvement is the first step. However, to improve a school, one must believe that improvement is achievable. This Report Card provides evidence about what can be accomplished. It demonstrates clearly that, even when we take into account factors such as the students’ family and personal characteristics, some schools do better than others. This finding confirms the results of research carried out in other countries. It will come as no great surprise to experienced parents and educators that the data consistently suggest that what goes on in the schools makes a difference to academic results and that some schools make more of a difference than others.

Many elementary-school authorities in Alberta provide students and their parents with report cards that include both the student’s mark and the median mark for each subject in which the student is enrolled. The report cards also show any marks awarded to the student earlier in the year. Comparative and historical data like these enable students and parents to see a clearer picture of an individual student’s progress. By comparing a school’s results with those of neighbouring schools or of schools with similar school and student characteristics, we can identify more successful schools and learn from them. By comparing a school’s latest results with those of earlier years, we can see if the school is improving. Reference to overall provincial results places an individual school’s level of achievement in a broader context.

There is great benefit in identifying schools that are particularly effective. By studying the techniques used in schools where students are successful, less effective schools may find ways to improve. Comparisons are at the heart of improvement: making comparisons among schools is made simpler and more meaningful by the Report Card’s indicators, ratings, and rankings.

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Understanding the Changes in Ontario's Electricity Markets and Their Effects

Energy consumption is a driver of economic growth. Policymakers in Ontario have made poor policy decisions, resulting in rising electricity costs, lower employment, and lower competitiveness, while achieving minimal environmental benefits. This publication presents a series of collected essays that critique the reasoning behind Ontario’s electricity policy changes and spell out the long term consequences.

Ontario’s main policy shift began around 2005 when the government made a decision to begin phasing out coal. The next major step occurred in 2009 when the government launched its Green Energy Act (GEA). The centerpiece of the GEA was a Feed-In-Tariff program, which provides long-term guaranteed contracts to generators with renewable sources (wind, solar, etc.) at a fixed price above market rates. In order to fund these commitments, as well as the cost of conservation programs, Ontario levied a non-market surcharge on electricity called the Global Adjustment (GA). Between 2008 and 2016, the GA grew more than 70 percent, causing a drastic increase in electricity prices. The high cost associated with aggressively promoting renewable sources is particularly troubling given the relatively small amount of electricity generated by these sources. In 2016, renewable sources generated less than 7 percent of electricity in Ontario while accounting for almost 30 percent of the GA.

Ontario’s decision to phase out coal contributed to rising electricity costs in the province, a decision justified at the time with claims that it would yield large environmental and health benefits. The subsequent research showed that shuttering these power plants had very little effect on air pollution. Had the province simply continued with retrofits to the coal plants then underway, the environmental benefits of the shift to renewables could have been achieved at one-tenth the cost.

The issue of rising electricity costs in Ontario can be partly attributed to the imbalances between supply and demand of electricity. Between 2005 and 2015, the province decided to increase its renewable capacity to facilitate the coal phase-out. However, since renewable sources are not as reliable as traditional sources, the government contracted for more natural gas capacity as a back-up. Meanwhile, the demand for electricity declined, partly due to rising electricity costs. The increase in the total installed capacity, coupled with lower electricity demand, has resulted in excess production being exported to other jurisdiction at a significant loss.

As a result of these structural shifts and poor governance, electricity costs have risen substantially in Ontario. Ontario now has the fastest growing electricity costs in the country and among the highest in North America. Between 2008 and 2016, Ontario’s residential electricity costs increased by 71 percent, far outpacing the 34 percent average growth in electricity prices across Canada. In 2016, Toronto residents paid $60 more per month than the average Canadian for electricity.

Ontario’s skyrocketing electricity rates also apply to the province’s industrial sector. Between 2010 and 2016, large industrial users in Toronto and Ottawa experienced cost spikes of 53 percent and 46 percent, respectively, while the average increase in electric costs for the rest of Canada was only 14 percent. In 2016, large industrial users paid almost three times more than consumers in Montreal and Calgary and almost twice the prices paid by large consumers in Vancouver. Some select large industrial consumers were granted rate reductions but still paid higher rates compared to large electricity users in Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Soaring electricity costs in Ontario have placed a significant financial burden on the manufacturing sector and hampered its competitiveness. Compared to multiple comparable American and Canadian jurisdictions, Ontario has exhibited the most substantial decline in its manufacturing sector over the past decade. Overall, Ontario’s high electricity prices are responsible for approximately 75,000 job losses in the manufacturing sector from 2008 to 2015.

Given the critically important role that affordable energy plays in economic growth and prosperity, the authors urge the Ontario government to pursue meaningful policy reforms aimed at lowering electricity costs for all Ontarians.