Ontario budget 2017: The facts, figures and changes you need to know
4 million children and youths get drug coverage, tobacco tax going up
The Ontario government unveiled its latest budget Thursday, and in addition to balancing the books, it unveiled some new spending, particularly in health care.
Here are the most important figures from the 290-page document.
- Pharmacare: 4 million children up to age 24 will be covered for prescription drugs.
- Tobacco tax rates: up by $10 per carton over the next three years, beginning with immediate hike of $2 effective midnight Friday.
- Full-day kindergarten: classes to be capped at 30 by 2017-18 and then 29 by 2018-19.
- OSAP: Graduates can begin repaying their loans after they start earning $35,000 a year, up from $25,000, starting in 2018.
- 2 new hospitals in Windsor and Niagara, renovations to Hamilton and Mississauga facilities.
- Abortion pill: Mifegymiso will now be publicly funded.
- Hotel tax: The government will amend legislation to give municipalities the ability to bring in a hotel tax.
- Ontario Seniors' Public Transit Tax Credit: Starting July 1, all Ontarians aged 65 and over will be eligible for a refundable benefit of 15 per cent, for an average annual benefit of $130.
- Affordable housing: The province will allocate some of its unused lands, worth between $75 million and $100 million, for the development of 2,000 new housing units in Toronto.
- Career planning: A new pledge of $190 million over three years for Career Kick-Start program, where high school and post-secondary students can access co-op programs and other training to better prepare them for the workforce.
Many items outlined in the budget document were previously announced, including:
- Daycare: A pledge to open 100,000 new child-care spaces with a quarter of those spots set to open this year.
- Rent control: Eliminating the 1991 'loophole' and extending rent control to all rental units in Ontario, in addition to other measures to help protect tenants and keep costs affordable.
- Foreign buyers tax: Introducing a 15 per cent Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) in an effort to make housing more affordable.
- Basic income: A plan to study basic income, with pilot projects in Hamilton, Lindsay and Thunder Bay.