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Ford Nation’s first budget: A responsible path to balance

Premier Ford and the Ontario PC Party unveiled their first budget after forming a majority government last June. The PC Party inherited a $15 billion deficit from the previous Liberal government and much speculation leading up to today assumed deep spending cuts. In a surprise move, Minister Fedeli announced that the government will not return to a balanced budget until 2023-24. Much of today’s budget entitled, “Protecting What Matters Most,” focused on new spending in healthcare, transit and targeted tax relief measures, many of which were included in the PC Party’s campaign platform.

Fiscal outlook

The government is projecting a deficit of $10.3 billion in 2019-2020 and $11.7 billion in 2018-2019. This timeline speaks to the government’s desire to return Ontario to fiscal balance without implementing strict austerity measures.

How does this budget impact your pocketbook?

  • No new taxes
  • Ontario Child Care Access and Relief from Expense (CARE) benefits low and moderate-income families up to 75% of the eligible to a maximum of $6,000 per child under the age of 7, up to $3,750 per child from 7-16 and up to $8,250 per child with severe disability
  • Improving alcohol choices and convenience by extending service hours of licensed establishments such as bars, restaurants and golf courses and allowing municipalities to license public areas such as parks and tailgating at sporting events.
  • Digital First strategy making Ontario the first province in Canada to take an all-government approach
  • Building transit plan to expand throughout the City of Toronto and in the surrounding regions with a hefty price tag of $28.5 billion
  • Providing dental care for low-income seniors
  • Making auto insurance more affordable, increasing consumer choice, increasing competition in the market

How does this budget impact businesses?

  • Creation of centralized procurement system for health care facilities to purchase equipment and supplies
  • Reduce red tape and regulatory burdens for business by 25% by 2022
  • Corporate income tax relief over six years through faster write-offs of capital investments
  • Cutting small business Corporate Income Tax rate by 8.7%
  • Fostering economic growth and addressing unnecessary regulatory burden with a new five-point plan to create confidence in Ontario’s capital markets
  • Ensuring communities across Ontario have access to broadband and cellular connectivity and introduce the Broadband and Cellular Strategy in 2019.

What’s next?

Protecting What Matters Most will now be the main topic of discussion at the Ontario Legislature until it breaks for the summer session on June 7, 2019. One consistent takeaway from Budget 2019 is that reducing red tape and the regulatory burden will continue to be a focus for this government. Do you have digital solutions for government? Red tape reduction suggestions? Innovative health services? Energy solutions? Or an idea that will highlight that Ontario is open for business? Get in touch with our Public Affairs and Government Relations experts and find out how best to position your organization or company with the Government of Ontario.

——— Written by Tausha Michaud, former Director, Public Affairs, NATIONAL Public Relations, Matt Hiraishi, Manager, NATIONAL Public Relations, Yash Dogra, Senior Consultant, NATIONAL Public Relations, and Sajni Khera, Consultant, NATIONAL Public Relations