March 29, 2018 -- The 2018 Ontario Budget, entitled A Plan for Care and Opportunity, was unveiled by The Honourable Charles Sousa, Ontario Minister of Finance, on Wednesday, March 28.
OREA has provided a summary and noted that the Budget, which proposes additional spending with a projected deficit of $6.7 billion in 2018 and continued deficits through 2024, offers little in terms of housing and no major new proposal to help young families afford a home.
Below are some of the highlights and major features of the Budget:
- A new Seniors' Healthy Home Program, which provides up to $750 annually for eligible households led by seniors 75 and over to help them live independently and offset the costs of maintaining their homes;
- A decrease in residential electricity bills as of July 1, 2017, by 25 per cent on average, and up to 40 or 50 per cent for eligible rural and low-income families.
- A new Ontario Drug and Dental Program for those without extended health plans;
- Free preschool for children aged two-and-a-half until eligible for kindergarten, beginning in 2020;
- An extension to OHIP+ that will provide people aged 65 and over with free prescription medication;
- An increase in minimum wage to $15 per hour in 2019;
- Free college and university tuition for 225,000 students;
- Investment of $2.1 billion to improve mental health care;