Finance Minister Charles Sousa is tabling the 2018-19 Budget in the Ontario Legislative Assembly. Published almost immediately before the campaign period for Election 2018, the Budget has emerged as a critical element of the Liberal Party’s re-election strategy.
Over the past week, Premier Wynne and her team previewed many of the new spending initiatives that are in the Budget through announcements on select policies. As such, there are no major surprises today.
Here are fast facts that you should be aware of:
- Back to deficit: Beginning in 2018-19, a Liberal Government would run deficits until 2024-25. The biggest deficit – of $6.6 billion – would come in the 2019-20 fiscal year.
- New social services: Budget 2018, included proposed new spending of $20.3 billion over three years on health care, child care, and other social services including: Free prescription drugs for everyone 65 or older; a new Ontario Drug and Dental Program; an additional $822 million investment in hospitals; and free preschool child care for children two-and-a-half years or older, until they are eligible for kindergarten.
- Expanded funding for job creation: A new ‘Good Jobs and Growth Plan’ will provide over $935 million over three years for skills and economic development programs, including support for trades, apprenticeships and postsecondary education; diversifying trade; helping businesses grow and compete; and key economic infrastructure.
- Current economic status: Unemployment is at 5.5 per cent, the lowest rate in 17 years – and the province’s economic growth has exceeded that of all G7 countries since 2014. Going forward, economic growth is expected to be 1.8 per cent in 2019 and 1.9 in 2020.
TSA will provide a full analysis shortly. Please contact our consultants should you have any immediate questions on the Budget.