Ontario has passed the Stronger, Healthier Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017, which includes significant investments in health care and education, including free prescription medications for everyone aged 24 and under through OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare, starting in January 2018.
The 2017 Budget will help strengthen Ontario’s economy by investing in people, communities and businesses across the province. The government is increasing health care funding by $11.5 billion over three years to reduce wait times, improve access to care and enhance the experience and recovery of patients. The government is also investing an additional $6.4 billion over three years to help learners reach their full potential by supporting them from full-day kindergarten to postsecondary education and beyond.
Other highlights of the Budget include:
- Helping 100,000 more children access affordable, quality licensed child care, including 24,000 in 2017-18.
- Launching a new Career Kick-Start Strategy to create 40,000 new work-related opportunities for students and recent graduates, giving them the experience they need to help land a good job.
- Lowering household electricity bills by 25 per cent, on average, beginning this summer, and to holding rate increases to inflation for four years.
- Continuing the largest investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and other public infrastructure in Ontario’s history.
- Making housing more affordable for homebuyers and renters through Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan.
As a leader in economic growth, the Province is set to balance the budget this year and maintain a balanced budget for the next two years. A balanced budget means more funding for the programs and services people rely on most.
The 2017 Budget is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- Ontario’s unemployment rate was 5.8 per cent in April — the lowest it has been since 2001.
- Employment in 2017 is forecast to increase by 1.3 per cent or 94,000 net new jobs.
- Over the last three years, Ontario’s real GDP growth has outpaced that of all G7 countries, supported by the government’s strategic investments. Exports and business investments are increasing and the unemployment rate continues to decline.
- The government’s investment of more than $190 billion over the 13-year period starting in 2014–15 is the largest infrastructure investment in the province’s history. It is helping to build new child care spaces, schools, hospitals, public transit, highways and roads.
“Ontario’s balanced budget is more than just the bottom line number, it’s about creating more opportunities and providing greater support for people. This balanced budget makes crucial investments in hospitals, schools, public transit, roads and bridges across the province. Our plan continues to bolster Ontario’s strong reputation as a driver of progressive policy and a leader in economic growth.” — Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance