#OntarioBudget2017-2018, #BalancedBudget, #GrossDomesticProduct, #GDP, #GreaterGoldenHorshoe, #GGH, #OntarioDrugBenefit, #ODB, #OntarioHealthInsurancePlan, #OHIP, #Ontario’sFairHousingPlan, #LandTransferTax
Charles Sousa, Ontario's finance Minister presented, yesterday, its first balanced budget, since 2008/2009, projected to remain balanced until 2020, media reports said.
Ontario’s net debt is as $312B and debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio expected to continue trending downward, CBCNews reports said.
The new features in Ontario’s budget are: free prescription drugs for Ontarians under 24, regardless of income; new taxing powers for municipalities; 24,000 day care spaces this fiscal year; continuous rise in price of cigarettes; new GO train routes to Grimsby, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls.
GO, a division of Metrolinx, is the regional public transit service for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, with routes extending to communities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
In the field of Health Care, Ontario has introduced Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) + Children and Youth Pharmacare which will affect 4 million Ontarians.
This covers free prescription drugs for Ontarians under 24, regardless of income starting from January 1, 2018.
The prescription drugs cover 4400 medicines included in the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program Including inhalers, antibiotics, birth control, medication for acute and chronic conditions and will cost province $465M per year
New healthcare spending in 2017-2018 Ontario budget is $7B which includes public funding for new abortion pill; reducing wait times; $32M stem cell transplants for cancer patients; helping up to 150 Ontarians suffering from blood cancer; expanding mental health; addiction services and funds for hospital construction.
The present budget empowers taxing powers for cities enabling Toronto to implement hotel tax and to tax to owners of vacant property.
In the field of Childcare, the present budget allotted 24,000 new daycare spaces this fiscal year, part of 100,000 new spaces that will be created over next five years. The budget also highlighted that 60 percent of the new spaces will be subsidized with 3,100 subsidized spaces in Toronto.
Another new feature of the budget is the price rise of cigarettes. Cartons will cost $10 more in next three years and as of midnight, cartons will cost $2 more, an additional $4 in 2018, $4 in 2019.
This budget empowers Toronto to tax on vacant homes and introduced Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan with 15 percent tax on foreign investors. It also doubled Land transfer tax refund to $4K for first-time homebuyers and requires rent control for all privately-owned buildings after 1991. Total costs over 5 years to encourage development of rental buildings would be $125M.
About $130M would be spent on for renovating affordable housing in Toronto. There are proposals: in the use of Provincial land, with a minimum 20 percent, for social housing; for 2,000 new housing units in Toronto would be constructed using Grosvenor/Grenville and West Donlands sites.
New Go trains routes will be introduced: Weekday GO train to Grimsby by 2021; Weekday GO train to Grimsby, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls by 2023.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Image of Charles Sousa: Wikipedia