Ford government’s first budget cuts deficit to $11.7 billion, Ontario books won’t be balanced for five years
The Globe and Mail
April 11, 2019
Despite promises from Mr. Ford during the 2018 election campaign to balance the books, the province now says it won’t be in the black for five years – only one year earlier than the previous Liberal government projected in its 2018 budget.
Ontario will be back to balance in 3rd or 4th year of Ford mandate, promises MPP Lisa MacLeod
June 10, 2018
Asked when the province would be brought back to budgetary balance, [MPP Lisa MacLeod] replied that her party would aim to do it the third or fourth year of its mandate.
Although the use of a "responsible timeframe" leaves some open for interpretation (what does "responsible" exactly mean in this context anyway?), given these two sources (Ford and MacLeod), I think it's fair to consider this promise is to return to balance by year 3 or 4.
Doug Ford says they would run deficits for the first two or three years
May 31, 2018
[Doug Ford] also says a Tory government would run deficits for the first two or three years, but the plan also doesn't spell out the size of those deficits or a path to balance.
Doug Ford promises to cut gas prices by 10 cents a litre
The Toronto Star
May 16, 2018
“We are going to wipe out the deficit the first year, maybe the second …. We will balance the budget in our term,” he said.
While Ford is moving the goalposts in the same sentence, it seems this was corrected not much later in the campaign to year 3 or 4. In this context, and from comments made later in the campaign, I think we can take the timeline as "the term" here, rather than year one or two.