2015 Budget Builds Ontario Up | By Dr. Eric Hoskins, MPP
On April 23, the 2015 provincial budget was unveiled. If you are a student, senior, raising a family, looking for a stable job, worried about a secure retirement, or fed up with aging transportation infrastructure, this budget directly benefits you.
This budget follows through on our government’s long-term plan to build Ontario up through infrastructure investment and economic growth. It’s not simply a breakdown of taxes and spending for another year. It’s an important checklist of goals and priorities to get our province moving, and for which our government will be held accountable.
The most important of these priorities are roads and transit. The budget sets out $130 billion in new investment over 10 years—the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history—including $31.5 billion for new transit. This is $2.6 billion more than last year’s budget. These funds will bring our transit networks into the 21st Century throughout greater Toronto, Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo as part of our Moving Ontario Forward Plan.
This commitment will help create jobs for over 110,000 Ontarians over the construction period, and spur further job growth through productivity gains and business investment. This initiative will be the single biggest infrastructure investment in Ontario history, and will benefit everyone for generations.
We will also be investing an additional $250 million over two years in the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy, bringing it to a total of more than $565 million. This will help up to 150,000 young people connect with skills and mentors to build successful careers and innovative businesses.
The coming year will see the maximum Ontario Child Benefit rise to $1,336 to help families with rising costs. We’re also boosting health care funding for home and community care by $750 million over the next three years to help people stay healthy at home where they want to be, rather than having to get care at a hospital or long-term care facility.
This budget will also establish a corporation to administer the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan to help low- and middle-income Ontarians save for retirement. This is one of the most significant improvements to the safety net in a generation, and we look forward to revealing more details soon.
And we’re doing all of this while reducing the deficit and without raising taxes. As you may have heard, many of these new investments will be made possible through unlocking the value of assets like Hydro One and expanding alcohol retailing. You can read all the details of our plan to build Ontario up here: www.ontario.ca/budget. As always, I welcome your feedback.