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  • News
  • March 29, 2018

Burlington Benefits from Ontario’s Plan for Care and Opportunity

Provincial Government introduces 2018 Budget, Focusing on Health Care, Child Care, and Mental Health

Today, the provincial government released the 2018 Ontario Budget: A Plan for Care and Opportunity, which includes significant new investments in health care, child care, home care, and mental health care and services.

The Budget also highlights new measures to create more job opportunities for people across the province and focuses on initiatives that make life more affordable and provide more financial security during a time of rapid economic change.

Ontario's economy is getting stronger, with the unemployment rate at its lowest in almost two decades. It is clear that our economy is doing very well, outperforming all G7 countries and Canada since 2014 but not everyone is feeling it. That is why Ontario is taking steps to make life more affordable and provide more financial security during a time of rapid economic change.

The province has beaten its fiscal targets every year since the recession, and is forecasting a budget surplus in 2017–18. Beginning in 2018–19, Ontario is choosing to make more investments in the care and services that the people of this province rely on. As a result, the province will run modest deficits of less than one per cent of GDP. The Budget outlines a path back to balance by 2024–25, building on the province's long track record of responsible fiscal management.

Caring for Our Youth

Ontario is committed to supporting youth and ensuring they have the opportunity to succeed as active members of the community. The provincial government is making life easier for young people by:

  • Making university and college tuition free for more than 225,000 students of all ages. Free or low tuition is available for students from low- and middle-income families. Tuition is free for students from families earning up to $90,000, while families who earn up to $175,000 are eligible for generous, non-repayable grants.
  • Preparing students for good jobs with a $132-million investment over three years to develop postsecondary education programs that respond to the changing needs of students and employers. This includes strengthening partnerships with local employers, offering more flexible and experiential learning, and increasing the number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates by 25 per cent over the next five years, from 40,000 to 50,000 per year.
  • Providing $935 million in new funding over three years through the Good Jobs and Growth Plan to support Ontario businesses, students and graduates, and help attract good, well-paying jobs.

“Our 2018 Budget is a reflection of Ontario’s strong economy, the fastest growing in the G7 since 2014,” said Eleanor McMahon, MPP for Burlington. “That’s why our government is able to take ambitious steps to ensure young people have opportunities right here in Burlington, because we know that their future is our future.”

Caring for Our Families

Ontario is helping ease the mounting pressure that families are facing and giving them every opportunity to care for their loved ones. To make everyday life more affordable, the 2018 Budget is strengthening services that matter most to people such as:

  • Introducing a new Ontario Drug and Dental Program, reimbursing 80 per cent, up to $400 per single person, $600 per couple and $700 for a family of four with two children, of eligible prescription drug and dental expenses each year, for those without workplace health benefits or not covered by OHIP+ or other government programs.
  • Providing more affordable quality child care by making preschool child care free for children aged two-and-a-half until they are eligible for kindergarten. This saves a family with one child $17,000, on average, and builds on the savings families get from full-day kindergarten. Early learning has been demonstrated to improve children’s academic performance throughout their lives.
  • Providing better and faster access to mental health and addictions services for hundreds of thousands more children, young people and adults across Ontario — bringing the total funding to more than $17 billion over four years.
  • Building a fair society and enhancing choice and independence by investing $1.8 billion to strengthen services for 47,000 adults with developmental disabilities and reforming the social assistance system to focus on people rather than on rules and regulations.
  • Lowering the cost of commuting by about $720 per year for the average commuter transferring between the GO/UP Express network and the TTC.

“Burlington residents and families should have access to services when they need them,” said Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon. “By introducing a new Ontario Drug and Dental Program for those without workplace health benefits and free child care for children aged two-and-a-half to kindergarten and investing $17 billion over the next four years in mental health services, we are increasing residents’ access to care and helping families with every day costs. We are also addressing what families in Burlington have been telling me, in terms of their priorities. Enhanced access to mental health services is a significant priority for them and their loved ones.”

Caring for Our Seniors

In Burlington, seniors are the fastest-growing age group. Our government recognizes this province-wide trend and is addressing it by:

  • Introducing the new Seniors’ Healthy Home Program. This recognizes the costs associated with older seniors living at home, where they want to be. It provides a benefit of up to $750 annually for eligible households led by seniors aged 75 and over to help them live independently and offset the costs of maintaining their homes.
  • Creating 30,000 new long-term care beds over the next 10 years, adding 5,000 new beds by 2022, to help people who can no longer live independently and provide peace of mind for people who care for them. These new beds are in addition to the 30,000 existing beds being redeveloped.
  • Making prescriptions completely free for everyone aged 65 and over through OHIP+, ensuring that no senior citizen ever needs to go without necessary drugs. By eliminating the Ontario Drug Benefit annual deductible and co-pay, this saves the average Ontario senior $240 per year. This expansion of OHIP+ follows the introduction of free prescriptions for everyone under the age of 25 in the 2017 Ontario Budget.  
  • Providing a public transit tax credit that saves seniors up to $450 a year, as of July 1, 2017.

“Ontario is making investments to improve the quality of care and the quality of life for seniors here in Burlington, and across the province,” said Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon. “Our government is leading the way on national pharmacare by expanding OHIP+ and making life more affordable for 2.6 million seniors and their families, by making prescription drugs more accessible.”

Investments in Burlington

Our government is investing $5.8 million, over three years, in Habitat for Humanity to establish a Build Factory in Burlington. At this innovative facility, components for safe, decent and affordable homes will be assembled and transported to as many as 120 Habitat for Humanity construction sites across Ontario. Futher, this Build Factory will increase the supply of affordable housing in communities across Ontario.

This local investment will increase the supply of affordable housing for low-income families, expand community partnerships, increase community engagement and reduce the environmental footprint of the building process.

Burlington’s Joseph Brant Hospital is receiving a $11.2 million increase, with a total of $143 million in operational funding to improve access to care, reduce wait times, address capacity issues and better meet the needs of the community. Ontario is investing an additional $822 million in 2018–19 — the largest single government investment in hospitals in almost a decade.

Economic Growth and Competitiveness

Ontario is helping people adapt to, and thrive in, a changing economy to make sure the province remains the best place to live, work and do business. Actions include:

  • Planning to create and retain over 70,000 jobs by renewing and extending the Jobs and Prosperity Fund with an increase of $900 million over the next 10 years.
  • Providing a long-awaited raise for 1.2 million people across Ontario by increasing the minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018 and $15 per hour on January 1, 2019.

The province has beaten its fiscal targets every year since the recession, and is forecasting a budget surplus in 2017–18. Beginning in 2018–19, Ontario is choosing to make more investments in the care and services that the people of this province rely on. As a result, the province will run modest deficits of less than one per cent of GDP. The Budget outlines a path back to balance by 2024–25, building on the province's long track record of responsible fiscal management.

Quotes

“The 2018 Budget is a strong reflection that the priorities of everyday Ontarians are our government’s priorities. We are making life more affordable, at every stage of life, by making historic investments in the care and services Burlington families and residents need to continue to be active members in their community. I am thrilled that our province is investing $5.8 million in Habitat for Humanity’s Build Factory, an initiative I have been proud to work on in partnership with local advocates and community leaders. This will bring good jobs to Burlington, contribute to our local economy and increase the supply of housing for low-income families in Ontario.”

— Eleanor McMahon, MPP for Burlington

“Ontario’s economy is getting stronger, businesses are creating record numbers of jobs, and unemployment is at the lowest rate in almost two decades. Our budget is balanced. We have a $600 million surplus. Now, we are using our strengthened fiscal position to make life more affordable for families and create new opportunity for businesses across the province. The 2018 Budget will include new investments in health care, child care and seniors care to help even more families get ahead.” 

— Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance

Quick Facts

  • The government is choosing to make new investments of $20.3 billion over the next three years to support vital public services that people in Ontario rely on, focusing on priority areas such as health care, education, child care, seniors, social services, growing the economy and creating good jobs.

  • Since the recession, Ontario’s economy has gained over 800,000 net new jobs. The unemployment rate has steadily declined to a 17-year low in February 2018, and has remained below the national average for 34 consecutive months.

  • Since 2014 Ontario’s economy has grown more than Canada’s and all other G7 countries. 

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