Moody's downgrades Ontario's credit rating from Aa2 to Aa3, citing deficit
Ontario Premier Doug Ford arrives to speak in Toronto on Wednesday December 12, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)
TORONTO -- Bond rating agency Moody's has downgraded the province of Ontario's credit rating.
The agency announced the downgrade from Aa2 to Aa3 on Thursday, citing the province's $14.5-billion deficit in 2018-2019 and projections that it will continue to post deficits in the coming years.
Moody's said the combination of increased debt and slow revenue growth will result in a faster than previously anticipated increase of the province's debt burden.
The agency said the province will be subject to greater impact of interest rates increases, which it projects to jump over the next three to five years.
Finance Minister Vic Fedeli blamed the previous Liberal government for creating the circumstances that have led to the credit downgrade.
But Moody's also said that actions taken by the current government to reduce revenue levels will add to the budgetary pressures facing the province.
The Opposition NDP accused the Progressive Conservative government of "meddling" in the provincial economy, leading to the downgrade.
"(Premier Doug) Ford is giving tax breaks to the richest corporations and cash handouts to polluters -- and the rest of us will pay for it," NDP finance critic Sandy Shaw said in a statement.
"A downgraded rating means investors have no confidence in Doug Ford and more public money will be spent servicing debt rather than on the services families depend on."