Ontario budget highlights: Key facts and figures you need to know
Liberals reveal a tax hike for some and a break for others, plus billions for hospitals and schools
Ontario's Liberal government revealed its latest budget on Wednesday that includes billions in new spending on a wide range of issues.
The government already made several high-profile announcements in recent days, including $2.2 billion to make preschool free for children aged 2-and-a-half years to four, $575 million for free prescription drugs for seniors, and a total of $2.1 billion to expand mental health services.
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Here are the key commitments from the 308-page budget, many of which will only become a reality if the Liberal government is re-elected in the spring election:
- A new drug and dental plan for 4.1 million Ontarians without workplace benefits, regardless of income, that pays up to 80 per cent of expenses to a maximum of $400 for a single person, $600 per couple and $50 per child in a family of four with two kids.
- A Seniors' Healthy Home Program that would provide $750 per year to eligible households to help those 75 and older maintain their home.
- $300 million to hire a registered nurse in every long-term care facility in Ontario.
- 3 per cent increase in rates for those living on Ontario Works the Ontario Disability Support Program.
- $5,000 annually for 47,000 eligible Ontarians living with disabilities to access care and services.
- $11 billion to begin work on a high-speed rail line from Toronto to Windsor, Ont. The government is starting with the Toronto to London, Ont., connection.
- $534 million to create 10,000 additional child care spaces in schools and 4,000 spaces in community centres.
- Those earning $71,500 or more annually — approximately 1.8 million people — would see a personal income tax increase. It's on a sliding scale, so someone earning $95,000 would pay an extra $168 in tax. However, some 680,000 people would pay less personal income tax.
- $19 billion for hospital infrastructure and operations over the next decade. That includes $2.4 billion for redevelopment of Toronto's SickKids hospital, and a $1.8 billion project at the Ottawa Hospital.
- $16 billion in capital grants to build new schools or improve existing ones.
- Increase in OSAP awards for students from low-income families (those who make less than $90,000 a year) and for Indigenous students. Tuition is free for those earning up to $90,000.
- The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation, a subsidiary of the LCBO, is projected to lose $40 million in its first full year of operation. By the 2020-21 fiscal year, it's expected to bring in a net income of $100 million.
- $4 dollar increase in the price of a carton of cigarettes. The change goes into effect at midnight.
- GO Transit and UP Express trips within Toronto will be $3 for Presto users. GO Transit trips under 10 kilometres long will also be $3 across the entire GTHA.