Last week, the Finance Minister of Ontario, Mr. Charles Sousa and the Premier, presented the Budget 2018 to multicultural media. In several aspects, Budget 2018 is one which stimulates and supports growth and investments creating a plethora of opportunities.
First and foremost, they addressed what was meant by ‘A Plan for Care and Opportunity’ wherein the needs for accessible and affordable childcare, eldercare and long-term care for families that need these is the prime focus. Budget 2018 addresses these burning issues so that extended health benefits, prescription drugs and dental care are made available to all families.
A caring government will enable many seniors to stay in their own homes, and also there will be long-term care beds which would include spaces for culturally approved. An increase of over 2 billion over the next four years to enhance the level of care and access for mental health and addiction services, including publicly funded psychotherapy and supportive housing.
Efforts to boost the economy include Women’s Economic Empowerment Strategy which will invest in initiatives to support women’s access to opportunities. Support will be provided for female entrepreneurs and women’s corporate leadership. Equally important, it will develop a return-to-work program and continue to encourage sharing of caregiving responsibilities.
Ontario is investing almost $16 billion in capital grants over 10 years for new and improved schools. This year alone, the Province is investing $784 million to build 39 schools and renovate 40 existing ones. The government is providing over $250 million in new funding over 3 years to eliminate waitlists for special education, ensuring that students with special needs have timely access to individualized needs and chart a path to success.
Growth and Jobs
Budget 2018 builds on the trend of the Government favoring targeted assistance for expansion of hospitals, public transit, schools, roads and continued investments will be made in these areas. We have one of the strongest economies not only in Canada, but across the globe, which is attracting investors from across the globe. Ontario’s economy is not only growing well, but also outstripping many of the G7 countries.
Strategic investments to support growth remains high on Ontario’s agenda, and rightfully so, given that it is one of the most pressing challenges faced by the world. The government has introduced a slew of measures aimed at building tomorrow’s infrastructure. The Province is investing about $230 billion over the next decade for priority projects such as bridges and broadband in rural and remote communities. The next 10 years of investments are expected to support about 140,000 jobs, on average, per year. This will include more than 106 billion for new and upgraded transit and transportation infrastructure to drive economic growth.
Viewed holistically, Budget 2018 is, to adapt from the colloquial phrase, “same same, but remarkable” – it is similar to previous Budgets in that the Government seeks to address multi-pronged challenges faced by the economy and
society at large, but remarkable in that taxpayers are given ample time to understand and adjust to changes that will only be implemented several years down the road.