Here’s what you need to know right now – further analysis to follow.
Today, Charles Sousa, the Ontario Minister of Finance tabled the Government’s annual budget. Ahead of the upcoming election in 2018, the Liberal Government has crafted an updated narrative that will frame their re-election campaign. Here are the major highlights from today’s Budget:
Balanced Budget – The Government is balancing the budget for the first time since the 2008–09 global recession and, based on current estimate, is on track for balanced budgets for the next two years.
Free Prescription Medications – The 2017 Budget will launch OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare, a new drug benefit program that fully covers the cost of prescription medications for everyone aged 24 and under, regardless of family income. It will completely cover the cost of all medicines funded through the Ontario Drug Benefit Program. There will be no deductible and no co‐payment. OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare is the first program of its kind in Canada.
Non-Resident Speculation Tax – Introduction of a new non-resident speculation tax of 15 per cent on the price of homes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe purchased by non-Canadian citizens, non-permanent residents and non-Canadian corporations buying properties that contain at least one and not more than six single-family residences.
Vacant Homes Property Tax – The Government is proposing amendments to legislation that would grant Toronto broad authority to levy an additional property tax on vacant homes, designed to encourage property owners to sell unoccupied units or make them available to be rented. Under this approach, the City would be responsible for the detailed design, implementation and administration of the tax.
Career Kick-Start Strategy – A new initiative that will provide nearly $190 million over three years to create 40,000 new work-related opportunities for students and recent graduates to give them professional experience.