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The Progressive Conservative government’s first budget will be presented April 11, the finance minister announced Thursday, saying it would show a path to balance.

Vic Fedeli did not say, however, if the $13.5 billion deficit will be eliminated within the government’s four-year mandate.

When asked if getting to balance would mean job losses, Fedeli said the premier has talked about finding efficiencies.

“You’re going to see our promises kept, and one of the promises that the premier made is that no front-line workers will be cut,” Fedeli said in Nobleton, Ont.

During last year’s election campaign, Premier Doug Ford often said not a single job would be lost under his government, and he did not use a “front-line worker” qualifier.

Fedeli said the budget would put the province on a path to long-term fiscal sustainability.

“It will bring jobs and growth back to our province while protecting what matters most: our hospitals, our schools and our other vital public services,” he said.

Opposition politicians have accused the Tories of inflating the deficit so they can justify cuts to programs and services.

When the Tory government took office last year they pegged the deficit at $14.5 billion, though the financial accountability officer said it was closer to $12 billion.

Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy said last month he has directed ministries to limit spending until fiscal year end of March 31.

The education ministry has also advised school boards to defer filling vacancies for retirements and other leaves for teachers and other staff until the minister gives them an update by March 15.

March 8, 2019

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