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  • News
  • March 29, 2018

Delivering a Plan for Care and Opportunity

Ontario Continuing to Invest in Health Care, Child Care and Mental Health

March 28, 2018

Today the government released the 2018 Budget, which includes significant new investments in health care, child care, home care and mental health, and new measures to create more job opportunities for people across the province. The Budget also focuses on initiatives that make life more affordable and provide more financial security during a time of rapid economic change.

Ontario's economy is getting stronger, with the unemployment rate at its lowest in almost two decades. Yet between the rising cost of living and stable, long-term jobs becoming harder to find, many people are struggling to take care of themselves and their families. As the changing economy widens the gaps within our society, the government has a plan to build a fairer, better Ontario by supporting everyone in the province with the care and opportunity they need to get ahead.

Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, introduced the Budget in the legislature today. If passed, Ontario would expand OHIP+ with free prescription drugs for everyone 65 and over, improve mental health care and addictions services, and introduce free preschool child care for children aged two-and-a-half until eligible for kindergarten.

Investing in Care

Ontario is helping ease the mounting pressure that individuals and families are facing and giving them every opportunity to care for their loved ones by:

 Introducing the new Seniors’ Healthy Home Program. This recognizes the costs associated with older seniors living at home, where they want to be. It provides a benefit of 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.

 Introducing a new Ontario Drug and Dental Program, reimbursing 80 per cent, up to a maximum of $400 per single person, $600 per couple and $700 for a family of four with two children, of eligible prescription drug and dental expenses each year, for those without workplace health benefits or not covered by OHIP+ or other government programs.

 Providing more affordable quality child care by making preschool child care free for children aged two-and-a-half until they are eligible for kindergarten. This saves a family with one child $17,000, on average, and builds on the savings families get from full-day kindergarten. Early learning has been demonstrated to improve children’s academic performance throughout their lives.

 Providing better and faster access to mental health and addictions services for hundreds of thousands more children, young people and adults across Ontario — bringing the total funding to more than $17 billion over four years.

 Improving hospitals by providing better access to care, reducing wait times, addressing capacity issues and better meeting the needs of Ontario’s growing and aging population through an additional $822-million investment in 2018–19 — the largest single government investment in hospitals in almost a decade. The province is also investing approximately $19 billion over 10 years to build and renovate hospitals to provide more and faster health care for people.

        o This includes over $1.1B going directly to the Scarborough and Rouge Hospital to address           demand for expansion of services and aging infrastructure.
        o Additional investments to the Bridletowne Neighbourhood Hub.

 Creating 30,000 new long-term care beds over the next 10 years — adding 5,000 new beds by 2022 — to help people who can no longer live independently and provide peace of mind for people who care for them. These new beds are in addition to the 30,000 existing beds being redeveloped.

 Investment in Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care in Scarborough to utilize virtual reality technology to provide seniors with virtual access to travel and recreation, which will lead to the development of a guidebook for implementing virtual reality programs that target stimulation of cognitive and sensory motor functions in seniors.

 Building a fair society and enhancing choice and independence by investing $1.8 billion to strengthen services for 47,000 adults with developmental disabilities and reforming the social assistance system to focus on people rather than on rules and regulations.

Making Life More Affordable

Families are facing mounting pressures — whether at work or on their commute or in their pocketbook — and it’s having a real impact on people’s lives and our ability to care for our loved ones. Ontario is taking steps to make life more affordable and provide more financial security during a time of rapid economic change:

 Making prescriptions completely free for everyone 65 and over through OHIP+, ensuring that no senior citizen ever needs to go without necessary drugs. By eliminating the Ontario Drug Benefit annual deductible and co-pay, this saves the average Ontario senior $240 per year. This expansion of OHIP+ follows the introduction of free prescriptions for everyone under the age of 25 in the 2017 Ontario Budget.

 All GO Transit trips within Toronto will cost PRESTO card users just $3 per trip. Additionally, commuters transferring from GO with their PRESTO will save 50% on their TTC fare.

 Unlocking surplus provincial land to create more than 2,000 new housing units with a mix of market-based and affordable units. Expanding rent control to all private market rental units to protect tenants from unfair rent increase.

 Providing a public transit tax credit that saves seniors up to $450 a year, as of July 1, 2017, and lowering the cost of commuting by about $720 per year for the average commuter transferring between the GO/UP Express network and the TTC.

 Cutting 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.

Creating Opportunity for People

Ontario is helping people adapt to, and thrive in, a changing economy to make sure the province remains the best place to live, work and do business. Actions include:

 Supporting the diversity of our community with the expansion of the Multicultural Community Capacity Grant and adding a capitals stream so that local community organizations can better plan for the long-term.

 Making college and university tuition free for more than 225,000 students of all ages. Free or low tuition is available for students from low- and middle-income families; tuition is free for those earning up to $90,000 and students from families who earn up to $175,000 are also eligible for financial aid.

 Preparing students for good jobs by providing $132 million over three years to develop postsecondary education programs that respond to the changing needs of students and employers — including strengthening partnerships with local employers, offering more flexible and experiential learning, and increasing the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates by 25 per cent over the next five years, from 40,000 to 50,000 per year.

 Planning to create and retain over 70,000 jobs by renewing and extending the Jobs and Prosperity Fund with an increase of $900 million over the next 10 years.

 New $100 million GTHA Regional Fund that will help support small to medium sized business in the GTHA expand and create more jobs.

 Providing $935 million in new funding over three years through the Good Jobs and Growth Plan to support Ontario businesses, students and graduates, and help attract good, well-paying jobs.

 Making workplaces fairer for everyone by tackling the gender wage gap and increasing transparency in hiring processes with proposed legislation that would, if passed, require all publicly posted jobs to include a pay rate or salary scale.

 Providing a long-awaited raise for 1.2 million people across Ontario by increasing the minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018 and $15 per hour on January 1, 2019.

The province has beaten its fiscal targets every year since the recession, and is forecasting a budget surplus in 2017–18. Beginning in 2018–19, Ontario is choosing to make more investments in the care and services that the people of this province rely on. As a result, the province will run modest deficits of less than one per cent of GDP. The Budget outlines a path back to balance by 2024–25, building on the province's long track record of responsible fiscal management.


“Our government recognizes that not everyone is feeling the economic prosperity, growth and employment opportunities that we currently have in Ontario. The nature of work has also changed and requires a highly skilled and trained work force. Families of today are also changing, many caring for senior parents and children at the same time. I am proud of the choices that our government has made in this budget which will help by making life more affordable for families, caring for them at every stage of life, ensuring a healthy start for our children, caring for the changing of needs of seniors who have contributed so much to our communities and training our workforce to be ready to take on the jobs of tomorrow.”

- Tracy MacCharles, MPP Pickering -Scarborough East

“Residents of all ages will see the benefits of the 2018 Budget, from children to seniors. The expansion of OHIP+, making eligible prescriptions free for everyone 25 and under and 65 and over, as well as investments in childcare, relieves the economic burden for my constituents. Further, the 2018 Budget is investing in transit with repairs on the highway 401 from Warden Avenue to Whites Road to improve safety for drivers. Our government is also continuing to invest in local community centres like the Bridletowne Neighbourhood Hub and Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care.”

- Soo Wong, MPP for Scarborough- Agincourt

"Our economy depends on getting people moving. With more fare integration and infrastructure improvements, commuters in Scarborough will be able to spend more time with their families and less money on their commute to work. I’m very pleased to see that all Scarborough residents will now benefit from $3 fares from any of our GO stations, in addition to 50% off their TTC fare when they transfer with their PRESTO card."

- Brad Duguid, MPP for Scarborough Centre

“Budget 2018 will ensure that the people of Scarborough are better off today and well into the future. Through investments made in this budget, hardworking families will no longer have to choose between going to work and taking care of their young ones. The funding coming to Scarborough & Rouge Hospital will ensure better access to care, reduce wait times, address capacity issues and better meet the needs of Scarborough’s changing population. This budget will provide more opportunities for Ontarians from low and middle-income families to benefit from OSAP and obtain their postsecondary education. About 8,000 students from Scarborough are already getting free tuition and we only expect that number to grow. From turning the Sir Robert Borden Business and Technical Institute site into a community hub to better services for seniors and those needing mental health supports, I am proud that we are tabling a budget that directly and positively impacts the lives of Scarborough residents.”

- Mitzie Hunter, MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood

This budget represents a bold vision for the province that focuses on caring for Ontario families. It includes significant benefits that will improve the lives of all residents – especially our children, our students, and our seniors. Increasing childcare support, making post-secondary education more affordable, and expanding OHIP+ are just some of the ways this budget will help make life easier for families in Scarborough-Southwest. Additionally, we are investing further in Variety Village to help with facility repairs and upgrades and ensure this important community hub continues to serve Scarborough residents of all abilities.

- Lorenzo Berardinetti, MPP for Scarborough Southwest

“Ontario’s economy is getting stronger, businesses are creating record numbers of jobs, and unemployment is at the lowest rate in almost two decades. Our budget is balanced. We have a $600 million surplus. Now, we are using our strengthened fiscal position to make life more affordable for families and create new opportunity for businesses across the province. The 2018 Budget will include new investments in health care, child care and seniors care to help even more families get ahead.”

— Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance

Quick Facts

 The government is choosing to make new investments of $20.3 billion over the next three years to support vital public services that people in Ontario rely on, focusing on priority areas such as health care, education, child care, seniors, social services, growing the economy and creating good jobs.
 Since the recession, Ontario’s economy has gained over 800,000 net new jobs. The unemployment rate has steadily declined to a 17-year low in February 2018, and has remained below the national average for 34 consecutive months.
 Since 2014 Ontario’s economy has grown more than Canada’s and all other G7 countries.

Additional Resources

 Read the 2018 Ontario Budget: A Plan for Care and Opportunity

         o For more details about the government’s plan, read the fact sheets:

 Ontario Budget 2018: Top 10 Highlights
 Making Everyday Life More Affordable
 More Child Care, More Choice
 Caring for Ontario’s Seniors
 Faster, Better Access to Health Care
 A Plan for Care
 Growing Ontario’s Competitiveness and Creating Good Jobs
 Ontario’s Economic and Fiscal Focus

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