Conservatives unveil 2019 budget

In its first Budget, the Ontario government introduced a comprehensive and sustainable plan that sets out a five-year path to a balanced budget to protect critical public services such as health care and education.

“We are restoring sustainability to government finances in order to protect what matters most,” said Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli. “The previous government was spending about $40 million a day more than it was collecting in revenue. Our plan will make every dollar count so we can continue to invest in the critical programs like health care, education, and other services that the people of Ontario rely upon each and every day while protecting front line workers.”

The 2019 Ontario Budget introduces no new taxes and, along with measures announced to date, will allow the government to provide a projected $26 billion in much-needed relief to individuals, families and businesses over six years, and eliminate the deficit.

In the nine months since taking office, the government has already reduced the deficit by $3.3 billion, going from $15 billion to a projected $11.7 billion for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The government is planning to further reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion in the 2019-20 fiscal year, lowering it to $10.3 billion. The government is projecting a modest surplus in 2023-24.

In addition, the government is announcing a responsible debt burden reduction strategy to responsibly manage Ontario’s more than $343,000,000,000 debt. The proposed Fiscal Sustainability, Transparency and Accountability Act would, if passed, require the government to present a debt burden reduction strategy and report on progress annually.

The government is proposing a new Ontario Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax credit. The CARE tax credit would be one of the most flexible child care initiatives ever introduced in Ontario. It is a plan that would put parents, not the government, at the centre of the child care decision-making process.

The CARE tax credit would be on top of the existing Child Care Expense Deduction and focus benefits on families with low and moderate incomes. Families could receive up to $6,000 for eligible child care expenses per child under seven, up to $3,750 per child between the ages of seven and 16, and up to $8,250 per child with a severe disability. This new CARE tax credit would provide about 300,000 families with up to 75 per cent of their eligible child care expense, and allow families to access a broad range of child care options, including care in centres, homes and camps.

The 2019 Ontario Budget will also build on the government’s ongoing efforts to end hallway health care and put patients first by accelerating the development of 30,000 long-term care beds and delivering on mental health and addictions supports.

In addition, the budget includes several measures designed to improve the dignity and quality of life of Ontario’s seniors. At least two-thirds of low-income seniors do not have access to dental insurance. This is why the government is investing $90 million in a new dental program for seniors that will start by late summer 2019. This initiative will benefit individual seniors with annual incomes of $19,300 or less and senior couples with combined annual incomes of less than $32,300.

The government is making the single largest capital contribution to new subway builds and extensions in Ontario’s history. It is committing $11.2 billion of the total estimated $28.5 billion cost to support four rapid transit projects in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), significantly over-delivering on the government’s initial commitment to inject an additional $5 billion in capital funds into subway extensions. The four projects include the Yonge North Subway Extension, the Scarborough Subway Extension, the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, and a new subway, the Ontario Line.

In addition, the government is introducing the largest increase in GO Transit rail service in five years.

Visit Ontario.ca/Budget to learn more about the 2019 Ontario Budget.

Photo: “We are restoring sustainability to government finances in order to protect what matters most,” says Vic Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Finance.

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