The 2017 Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review is a mid-year update on Ontario’s finances, economy and key commitments since the 2017 Budget. It provides a check-in on the government’s plan to create fairness and opportunity for everyone in the province during this period of rapid economic change.
Many people are facing challenges with rising costs of living and feeling uncertain about their economic future. With a balanced budget, the Ontario government is able to build greater fairness by strengthening key public services that matter most to the people of Ontario.
Here are the top takeaways:
- Proposing to raise the minimum wage to $14 on January 1, 2018 and to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019, and ensuring equal pay for part-time workers doing the same job as full-time workers.
- Launching OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare, a new benefit that covers the cost of prescription medications for everyone under 25, starting January 1, 2018.
- Providing free tuition to more than 210,000 college and university students by transforming the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). The government is also improving student assistance by ensuring that college and university students receive a reduced upfront bill, with OSAP already factored in.
- Supporting seniors through the Aging with Confidence action plan so they can live independent, healthy, active, safe and socially connected lives. The plan includes creating 5,000 new long-term care beds by 2022 — and more than 30,000 beds over the next decade. These new beds are in addition to the 30,000 existing beds that are being redeveloped.
- Investing in skills and training through programs like the Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers to provide incentives to encourage apprentices to complete training and encouraging youth employment by providing hiring and retention incentives of $1,000 to small businesses that employ young workers.
- Helping 24,000 more children aged four and under access licensed child care this year, reducing waitlists for families, as part of a commitment to provide 100,000 new spaces.
- Strengthening small businesses by providing more than $500 million over three years in new initiatives that will lower costs and support growth. This includes a proposed 22 per cent cut in the Corporate Income Tax rate for small businesses.
- Helping more people find affordable homes by encouraging increased housing supply, protecting buyers and renters, and bringing stability to the real estate market through the Fair Housing Plan.
- Working with Indigenous partners to create a third pillar of the postsecondary education system so that students at Indigenous Institutes can receive diplomas and degrees.
- Building major transit projects such as GO Regional Express Rail and investing in numerous highway projects to move goods to market faster and manage commute times across the province. Ontario is also reducing the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) fare to $1.50 for PRESTO card users transferring between GO Transit or the Union Pearson Express and the TTC.