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Ontario budget could come early because of spring election: Sousa

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa discusses the federal budget at a news conference in Toronto on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Sousa says the upcoming provincial spring budget will include a package of measures dealing with housing affordability.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Ontario’s finance minister has launched a series of public consultations to develop this year’s provincial budget, which he suggests will be delivered earlier than usual because of the upcoming election.

Charles Sousa did not provide an exact date for the budget, but says the provincial election — set for June 7 — creates a condensed timeline for the government to deliver the spending plan in order for legislative watchdogs and Ontario residents to properly examine it.

The annual consultations will take place across the province. The government says that last year, approximately 71,000 took part in the sessions.

Residents’ ideas for the budget can also be sent in by mail, email or fax by Feb. 9

Sousa confirmed last fall that Ontario’s 2018 budget will be balanced — as will budgets over the next two years.

Last year, the provincial government delivered its budget on April 27.