Ontario fall economic statement

Joakim Honkasalo

MINISTER OF FINANCE VIC FEDELI PRESENTED HIS MINI-BUDGET IN THE 2018 FALL ECONOMIC STATEMENT

On Thursday November 15 the Ontario Government presented their fall economic statement, titled  2018 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review. This was a preview into the priorities borne out of the line by line audit conducted earlier this year. Minister Fedeli presented the document to the legislature calling out that the province is in a “deep fiscal hole".

The Tories' stated deficit of $15 billion has been called into question by opposition parties. They assert that the government has overstated the deficit by including promises made by the Liberals that are being cancelled by the current regime. They also claim the government is using the deficit as cover for further service cuts they intend to make but didn't campaign on.

The Ford government has made tax cuts the top issue of their fall budget, followed by a commitment to fight against a federal carbon tax. Ontarians earning less than $30,000 annually will no longer have to pay provincial income tax and those earning up to $38,000 will pay less in tax. At the same time, they are eliminating the proposed surtax for the highest earning Ontarians that had been put forward by the previous government.

The government is receiving pushback on funding cuts to independent legislative officers including French language services commissioner, environmental commissioner, and child and youth advocate. 

Although a projected $3.2B is said to be saved in program expenses, the government is also said to be taking in $2.7 billion less in revenue in the fiscal year, including $1.5 billion attributed to the cancellation of the province’s cap-and-trade program. 

Highlights:

    - Ontarians earnings less than $30,000 will no longer have to pay provincial income tax in January 2019.
    - Promise to reduce red tape for businesses by 25 percent by 2022.
    - Exceptions for new rental units from rent control in order to encourage more affordable housing.
    - Commitment to developing the Ring of Fire.
    - 6000 new Long Term Care Beds as well as 9000 in the pipeline.
    - Freeze minimum wage increase at $14 per hour.
    - Increased budget for Ministry of Transportation, committed to transit and infrastructure.
    - Ending per-vote subsidy for political parties and riding associations; increasing limit on political contributions to $1,600 per year; MPPs, Ministers and staff will be permitted to attend fundraising events.