Ontario budget promises billions in health care and drives up debt

Ontario budget promises billions in health care and drives up debt

Ontario budget promises billions in health care and drives up debt

Joe Cressy, a left-leaning downtown councillor, was equally blunt: "The Ontario government should be ashamed of themselves".

Finance Minister Charles Sousa has prescribed a remedy for the Liberal government's political ailments - an election-ready balanced budget with free pharmacare for everyone 24 and under.

It's a record $141.1 billion spending plan that increases funding for health care by $7 billion over the next three years, including a signature $465 million children and youth pharmacare program that will pay for 4,400 different medications as of January 2018.

The Conference Board of Canada, in a budget analysis, noted the Ontario government will increase its spending, including on health care.

The budget promises an extra $9 billion for hospital construction projects over 10 years, and announced newly approved hospital construction projects in Niagara, Windsor, Hamilton, Mississauga and the Weeneebayko hospital replacement project in northern Ontario, as well as a new $2.5 million for the planning of an expansion to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto.

"I don't know if they've got the wallet for them, especially if they're going to pick up more of these routine costs", she says.

"This budget is a patchwork attempt by a desperate government to fix the mess they've created before the next election", he said.

"If they lose this next election, this is spending they will never have to be accountable for".

"Listen, that document is what, 296 pages long", Sousa said when asked about the absence. "Yes", she said Friday.

"You can only think that they're doing this to save face".

The repayment of the loan will not start before the student earns 35,000 dollar a year salary.

The debt-to-GDP ratio is improving, Sousa said, and the percentage of the budget that goes toward servicing the debt is considerably smaller than it has been in years. Meanwhile, our debt load continues to climb, $10 billion this year alone, and now totals over $311 billion.

It is projected to be $312 billion this year, growing to $336 billion in 2019-20.

Walker said the Liberals are using one-time funding sources - like $1 billion from the sale of Hydro One shares and sales of the LCBO and OPG headquarters - along with $2 billion in cap-and-trade revenue and an additional $1.5 billion in new federal funding that's not guaranteed to be repeated next year to balance the books. "If there's a change in what are right now historically low interest rates, the province could be thrown into really a huge fiscal hole".

"Given the unprecedented levels of investment from the federal government for transit infrastructure, it's very important for provinces like Ontario to also be at the table supporting municipalities and transit systems to provide the urban mobility that Canadians need", said Patrick Leclerc, President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Transit Association. The project could cut in half the four-hour travel time from Toronto to Windsor.

· $100 million to fund Ontario's new Dementia Strategy enhancing supports for people living with Dementia and those caring for them by expanding access to community-based programs, access to care, and access to early diagnoses services.

Carson said the budget also doesn't talk about the loss of a provincial post-secondary tuition tax break that ends this September.

The province also removed the $30 fee for the Drive Clean Emission Test, the mandatory vehicle emissions inspections and maintenance program, which tests more than two million vehicles a year. Its leader, Andrea Horwath, recently proposed a pharmacare program for all, priced at $475 million but funding only 125 medications.

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