TMXmoneyTMXmoney - invest with insight

Fitch downgrades Ontario long-term debt, notes risks on path to balanced budget

The Canadian Press

TORONTO - Fitch Ratings has downgraded Ontario's long-term debt rating, highlighting "risks" on the path to the Liberal government's target of balancing the budget by 2017-18.

The rating agency cut its long-term issuer default rating to AA-minus from AA.

However, Fitch also improved Ontario's ratings outlook to stable from negative.

Fitch says the province's budget options are likely to prove "more limited" given the extent of what Ontario has done to date to achieve its target.

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa says in a statement that the government remains committed to that goal, but the Fitch announcement underscores the challenges the province's economy faces.

He says he is working with the president of the Treasury Board to manage and control expenses, and to lower the debt and deficit.