Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli delivered the Ford government’s first Fall Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review at Queen’s Park today, which he positioned as restoring trust, transparency and accountability while putting money back in people’s pockets.
The Progressive Conservatives revealed no new surprises, but rather provided an update on many of their initiatives announced over the first five months of government, such as the Green Energy Repeal Act and Making Ontario Open for Business Act.
The fiscal outlook
The Ford government is projecting a deficit of $14.5 billion in 2018-19, half a billion less than the $15 billion deficit inherited from the previous government as found in the Commission of Inquiry. The Province also reported savings of $3.2 billion in program expenses through reduced spending and efficiencies. Another $2.7 billion will remain in people’s pockets through upcoming tax relief, withdrawal of planned tax increases of $308 million and the cancellation of cap and trade, which accounts for approximately $1.5 billion.
Tax relief for low-income workers and small business
The vast majority of low-income workers—approximately 1.1 million people—will now pay no Ontario Personal Income Tax thanks to the Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax Credit (LIFT). This represents the largest tax cut for low-income citizens in a generation. Small business will also be saving approximately $40,000 per year through additional tax relief measures. Minister Fedeli also confirmed that Ontario will not be following the federal government’s approach of phasing out small business tax relief based on passive income investments—a move that will save Ontario small businesses $160 million a year.
Support for priority industry sectors
As part of its bid to make Ontario “open for business,” the Ford government plans to support the following priority industry sectors through future initiatives: energy, natural gas, broadband, agriculture, as well as support for pipeline development. The government also wants to grow the manufacturing industry and northern development.
The road ahead
Ultimately, the Ford government put forward a review that establishes a roadmap for the upcoming 2019 Budget. Some of the major themes that we can expect the government to focus on in the months ahead include ending “hallway medicine,” increasing support for mental health initiatives, cutting red tape, creating a business and investment friendly climate and finding immediate savings for everyday Ontarians.
Next up? Budget 2019! Consultations are now underway—ask our Public Affairs team how we can help advance your business or industry goals.
Picture by DXR - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58393334
——— Written by Tausha Michaud, former Director, Public Affairs, NATIONAL Public Relations, and Yash Dogra, Senior Consultant, NATIONAL Public Relations