March 28, 2018
The government of Ontario released its 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 which 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.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa introduced the Budget in the legislature today. If passed, Ontario would expand OHIP+ with free prescription medicine 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, giving them every opportunity to care for their loved ones by:
• Ontario is investing an additional $11.62 million in Kitchener-Waterloo hospitals:
• St. Mary’s General Hospital will receive $7.58 million in additional funding in 2018-19.
• Grand River Hospital will receive $4.04 million in additional funding in 2018-19.
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:
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:
Investing in Infrastructure
Over the next 10 years, Ontario is investing more than $106 billion on new and upgraded transit and transportation infrastructure and about $25 billion on highways, bridges, and roads to address emerging needs in the transportation system.
• Advancing an initial investment of over $11 billion to support construction on the first HSR service in Canada.
• Ontario continues to move forward with an Environmental Assessment, focusing on options for providing HSR along the Toronto-Waterloo Region corridor.
Kitchener GO Rail Extension and Expansion:
• Provincial commitment to delivering two-way, all-day GO train service between Toronto and Waterloo Region, including investments in the Kitchener GO corridor.
• Planning and design work is underway on improvement to the Kitchener GO corridor to support more GO train service in the future and deliver GO RER along this line.
Waterloo ION Rapid Transit:
• The Province is investing $325 million for Stage 1 of the LRT between Conestoga Mall and Fairview Park Mall.
New Highway 7:
• Construction underway to replace the Victoria Street Bridge over the Conestoga Expressway, to be rebuilt as a flyover in advance of the new Highway 7 four-lane divided highway linking Highway 85 in Kitchener to Highway 6 in Guelph.
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.
“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
“This budget represents a significant investment in the rapidly growing community of Kitchener-Waterloo. By investing in education, local hospitals, mental health care, transportation infrastructure along the Toronto-Waterloo corridor, we are continuing to move Kitchener-Waterloo forward in a rapidly changing economy. We are committed to continuing to make life more affordable for families and seniors and ensuring that everyone in our community has the opportunity to thrive.”
— Daiene Vernile, MPP Kitchener Centre
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