July 14, 2014
On July 14, 2014, Finance Minister Charles Sousa introduced a bill in support of the 2014 Budget.
The proposed Building Opportunity and Securing Our Future Act (Budget Measures), 2014 is very similar to former Bill 194, the budget bill introduced on May 1, 2014 bearing the same title.
Some notable changes in today’s bill include:
- amendments to the Gasoline Tax Act, which would increase the tax rate on aviation fuel by one cent per litre each year for four years, beginning on September 1, 2014. Subsequent rate increases of one cent per litre in 2015, 2016 and 2017 would be effective April 1 of each respective year. Aviation fuel has been taxed at a rate of 2.7 cents per litre since 1992. This rate is significantly lower than the rate for gasoline (14.7 cents per litre) and the regular rate for diesel (14.3 cents per litre). The revenue generated by this change would be dedicated to public transit, transportation infrastructure and other priority infrastructure projects across the province. The Ministry of Finance would work with the Ministry of Transportation to provide relief to vulnerable communities, especially those in remote and northern areas.
- amendments to the Legislative Assembly Act, which would continue the MPP pay freeze from April 1, 2014 until the Budget is balanced, as confirmed by the Public Accounts. These amendments would replicate what was in Bill 177, the MPP Salary Freeze Act, 2014, which was considered by the last session of the Legislative Assembly but died on the order paper when the Assembly dissolved.
- amendments to the Pension Benefits Act, which were previously included in what was Bill 151 of the last session of the Assembly, the Strengthening and Improving Government Act, 2014. These amendments would clarify spousal entitlements to pre- and post-retirement death benefits, and would also make changes to help people affected by split pensions resulting from past government divestments. These changes are a necessary and prudent step forward for pension members and plans in Ontario.
- an amendment to the Electricity Act, 1998, which was proposed in former Bill 153, the Complying with International Trade Obligations Act, 2014. The changes would help ensure that Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff program is in line with rulings of the World Trade Organization on domestic content requirements.
In addition, certain other changes to the content of former Bill 194 are being proposed to refine Ontario’s statutes and to ensure that certain proposals arising from the 2014 Budget are implemented without delay.