Building Ontario Up for Everyone: 2016 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review banner

: Helping People in their Everyday Lives

BACKGROUNDER — November 14, 2016

Ontario is making it easier for people in their everyday lives by helping with housing affordability, improving convenience and choice for consumers and increasing access to government services.

Ontario’s Actions

The government is helping with housing affordability by:

  • Proposing to double the maximum Land Transfer Tax refund to $4,000 for eligible first-time homebuyers as of January 1, 2017.
  • Freezing the property tax on apartment buildings while reviewing how the high property tax burden on these buildings affects rental market affordability.

The government is reducing everyday costs by:

  • Rebating an amount equal to the eight per cent provincial portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax from the electricity bills of eligible residential consumers, small businesses and farms, starting January 1, 2017, and also providing additional relief for eligible rural ratepayers.
  • Eliminating the fee charged by the LCBO for the purchase of beverage alcohol under a Special Occasion Permit.
  • Eliminating the $30 fee that drivers pay for their Drive Clean emissions tests starting in 2017─18.

Ontario is improving convenience and choice for consumers by:

  • Expanding access to wine, beer and cider to up to 70 grocery stores across the province. Ultimately, up to 450 grocery stores will sell beer and cider, of which 300 will also sell wine.
  • Launching the LCBO’s e-commerce platform, featuring almost 5,000 products from Canada and abroad, providing shoppers with access to greater "virtual" shelf space, so that consumers can access more products than are available in their local stores.

Ontario is increasing consumer protection by:

  • Improving the regulatory system for credit unions to better protect consumers and enable them to better serve their members, while improving the competitiveness and choices within Ontario's financial services sector.
  • Amending the Payday Loans Act, 2008 to provide more tools to address unlicensed lenders and loan brokers in Ontario and provide new authority to restrict high-frequency borrowing and give certain borrowers extended payment plans.
  • Exploring options with credit unions to offer small dollar loans as another option to high-cost payday loans.
  • Banning door-to-door marketing of certain household appliances, including water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners and water filters, to protect consumers who feel pressured to sign contracts at the door.
  • Regulating the home inspection industry through mandatory licensing and qualifications for home inspectors, as well as minimum standards for contracts, home inspection reports, disclosures and the performance of home inspections.

Ontario is increasing access to government services by:

  • Transforming Ontarians’ experience interacting with the government’s online services through the development of a Digital Government Action Plan that will drive innovation across the government so that people can connect anytime, anywhere, on any device.