Ontario’s budget will be reintroduced: Here’s what Doug Ford promised

The Progressive Conservatives are set to resubmit their 2022 budget today, nearly three months after it was presented to Ontarians.

the 268 page document it was first introduced in late April, but before any debate or discussion could take place, the legislature was suspended so that the MPPs could campaign for the June election.

The budget then became Prime Minister Doug Ford’s re-election platform. The plan commits billions of dollars to building and revitalizing infrastructure, as well as a host of promises related to affordability, including a new personal income tax credit for seniors.

Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell will deliver the speech from the throne at 1 pm Tuesday and then the budget will be presented once again to the legislature. The document is likely to be similar, if not exactly the same, as the one presented in April.

Officials have made it clear that slight adjustments to the budget, including a five percent increase in funding for the Ontario Disability Support Program promised on the campaign trail, will not make a significant difference to the overall plan. expenses of the province.

Here are some of Ford’s biggest promises, as outlined in the PC’s nearly $200 billion budget:

A FOCUS ON TRANSIT

Throughout his campaign, Ford made it clear that he has a plan to say “yes” to building and revitalizing the province in the aftermath of the pandemic.

The 2022 budget outlined just over $25.1 billion over 10 years to expand and create roads, paths and bridges in Ontario. This includes the Bradford Bypass and the controversial Highway 413, which has not yet been given an exact price.

Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, left, arrives with Prime Minister Doug Ford to deliver the provincial government’s 2022 budget at the Legislature in Queens Park in Toronto on Thursday, April 28, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS /Chris Young

The government has also earmarked $61.6 billion over 10 years for transit projects, including the Ontario Line in Toronto, a rapid transit system that will connect the Ontario Science Center to Ontario Place, as well as several extensions of GO Rail.

The PCs have also said they would eliminate double fares when transferred to GO Transit, a compromise likely to affect most local systems, with the exception of Toronto.

HEALTH DOLLARS ALLOCATED TO INFRASTRUCTURE

PCs have set aside more than $40 billion over the next 10 years for hospital infrastructure, something they say is $10 billion more than what was pledged in 2021.

There will be no changes to drug coverage under OHIP.

Opposition parties in Ontario have called for a new budget to better address other health care challenges, including staffing shortages. While health care experts have criticized the government for not taking more action as emergency rooms closed and patients were redirected, the province’s new health minister said Monday that things are not as dire as they seem.

“I am disturbed, as I am sure many are, when they find out that their hospital has to close for four hours, one shift, one period of time,” Sylvia Jones said at a scrum at Queen’s Park. “But to suggest that it is in crisis, that is completely inappropriate.”

Unions have long called for the repeal of Bill 124, which caps pay increases for public sector employees such as nurses so staff can get paid they deserve.

When asked about Bill 124, government officials pivoted to tout a $5,000 retention bonus they offered to staff in March.

The 2022 budget also includes an investment in hiring and retaining health care providers.

NEW SENIOR TAX CREDIT

A surprise addition to the April budget was a personal income tax credit intended to offset the costs of some home care medical expenses for people over 70.

An older adult is shown in this file photo.

The credit will offer seniors reimbursement of up to 25 percent of eligible expenses up to $6,000 for a maximum credit of $1,500.

The credit will be available to seniors earning less than $65,000 a year and is expected to cost about $110 million in 2022.

INCOME TAX REDUCTION FOR LOWEST INCOME WORKERS

The government has also promised to reduce income taxes for Ontarians who earn less than $50,000 a year.

The Low Income Individuals and Families Tax Credit was originally available to people who earned less than $38,000 a year.

The province said about 1.1 million taxpayers will benefit from an average of $300 extra a year as a result of the program’s expansion.

LIFT was first introduced in 2018 by the Ford government as a way to counter the cancellation of a $15 minimum wage, a decision that was made once the Progressive Conservatives took office.

The expansion of the program will cost taxpayers $400 million a year.

SAVINGS FOR DRIVERS

License plate renewal fees have been eliminated, a move that will save drivers between $60 and $120 per year. This will cost the government around $1.8 billion. The gasoline tax has also been reduced by 5.7 cents per liter and the fuel tax has been reduced by 5.3 cents per liter.

The relief at the pumps may be short-lived, however, as the government only plans to keep these measures in place until December 31.

OTHER PROMISES INCLUDE:

• A 50-cent increase in the minimum wage

• Additional $3.5 million for emergency preparedness measures

• Approximately $96 million over three years to equip and train Ontario police services to respond to future protests and blockades at land borders

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