This week, the government engaged with Ontarians across the province, to bring the message from Finance Minister Rod Phillip’s Fall Economic Statement, about “Making Life More Affordable.”
Young families are struggling to get established, and the government has rolled out several programs to help. Approximately 300,000 families will keep an average extra $1,250 thanks to Ontario Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax credit. Low and middle-income families will also benefit from the tax relief provided through the Child Care Expense Deduction. In addition, to help support child-care subsidies and operations, the government will invest $1.7 billion in 2019-20, and another $1 billion over five years to allow schools to add more child-care spaces.
The government also believes that a hand-up is better than a handout, and one example of this is to make sure low-income workers keep more of their hard-earned wages. Since January 1 of this year, about 1.1 million income tax filers have benefitted from the Low-income Individual and Families Tax (LIFT) credit. This measure is in addition to our decision to eliminate the Ontario Personal Income Taxes for 580,000 Ontarians and will reduce taxes for another 520,000 residents.
Ontarians of all incomes will benefit from other new cost-saving programs. These include allowing families to keep the first $50,000 of an estate before being subjected to an administration tax, implementing the new $4 billion Ontario Electricity Rebate, and ending the Cap and Trade Carbon Tax that will save households $275 annually.
Along with much-needed measures to reduce business red tape, the government is working to better support agriculture in the riding. It is investing up to $6.45 million over three years to expand farm trade opportunities and allocating $1.25 million to meat processors to improve food safety.
The government wants local small and medium businesses to take advantage of new markets and processes. For this reason, they have modernized the Eastern Ontario Development Fund to help businesses grow and invest in creating good jobs. This fund will allow applicants to access more than $100 million over four years and will now include criteria to lower the job creation threshold from ten to five jobs. The program expands financial support for eligible municipalities, industry groups, and non-profits for projects that ensure long-term regional sustainability while advancing local priorities. If successful, businesses could also be eligible to receive complimentary supports and services. Notice of approvals will now be made within 60 days to allow businesses more time to plan their investments.
The government is also making progress on instilling new processes that will have a positive impact on the healthcare system. This week, the Hon. Christine Elliott, Minister of Health, announced a new “Digital First for Health” strategy that will help end hallway healthcare. It will make it simpler, easier, and more convenient for citizens to get the care they need. Once fully implemented, the strategy will provide more virtual care options, expanded access to online appointment booking, and greater data access for patients and healthcare practitioners to allow for better and more efficient management of health resources. The government is taking steps to meet the demands of Ontarians who are looking for timely, convenience, and improved healthcare outcomes.
Member of Provincial Parliament