Record-Setting Budget in Ontario

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The Ontario government has released its $187-billion record-setting budget.

The fiscal plan has $30-billion specifically in pandemic-related spending and also includes a record deficit of $38.5-billion.

Three different scenarios are laid out in the budget that could see the province's deficit levels change in the coming years depending on how long the pandemic lasts.

One thing the plan does not do is lay out a path to balance, with the government saying that will come in the 2021 budget.

Hospital Spending
The province says it is spending $2.5-billion more in the hospital sector this year to help fight the pandemic which allocates $572-million for costs incurred during the health crisis.

Hospitals have been asked to anchor much of Ontario's pandemic response, including running COVID-19 testing centres and assisting some long-term care homes.


Seniors Tax Credit
The budget includes a new tax credit to help seniors live in their homes longer.

It will reimburse them for 25 per cent on eligible renovations of up to $10,000, regardless of their income and whether they owe taxes for 2021.

The government says the minimum credit will be set at $2,500 and the temporary measure can be used for things like installing wheelchair ramps, non-slip flooring, and additional light fixtures.

 

Electricity Spending
The province says it will subsidize a portion of hydro rates for medium and large commercial and industrial businesses.

Starting Jan.1, 2021, the change will see industrial businesses save 14 per cent and commercial businesses save 16 per cent on their average bill.

The province estimates the program will cost $1.3-billion in 2021 with costs gradually declining until 2040.

 

Long-Term Care
The budget lays out a recently announced commitment to provide nursing home residents with an average of four hours of daily direct care.

But it contains no cost estimates for the program, which the government has said will require the hiring of tens of thousands of health-care workers.

The government says it will achieve the standard by 2024-2025.
The standard would be an increase over the two hours and 45 minutes of direct care that is the 

 

At-Home Schooling Costs
The budget renews funding to help parents with the added costs of at-home education.

The program consists of $200 per child under 12 and $250 per child or youth with special needs.

That program will cost the province $380-million, on top of the $378-million spent earlier this year.

The province says the program is intended to help parents cover costs like workbooks, school supplies, and technology.

 

Wine and Beer Tax Freeze
The government is freezing scheduled tax increases on beer and wine until 2022.

According to the provincial government, the move to help businesses in the hospitality sector that have been hit hard during the pandemic.