Today our government released the 2018 Budget, which includes significant new investments in health care, child care, home care and mental health, and new measures to create more job opportunities for people across the province and in our community.
The Budget also focuses on initiatives that make life more affordable and provide more financial security during a time of rapid economic change. As the changing economy widens the gaps within our society, the government has a plan to build a fairer, better Ontario by supporting everyone in the province with the care and opportunity they need to get ahead.
Investing in Care
We are creating the new Seniors’ Healthy Home Program for seniors 75 and older to help offset the costs of maintaining their home or rental. This means for those individuals in Peterborough; up to $750 annually per household is available to help offset the cost for such things as shovelling a driveway or walkway or assisting with planting a vegetable garden.
We are also providing free prescription drugs for all seniors 65+ by eliminating the deductible and co-pay saving Peterborough area seniors on average $240 a year.
Increasing more access to home and community health care services to help seniors in our community stay healthy and in their home longer we are adding 2.8 million more hours of personal support, 284,000 more nursing visits and 58,000 more therapy visits.
Investments in Long-Term Care are very important not only across the province but right here in our community. In Havelock we announced the addition of a new 128 bed long term care home and there is more opportunity for local developments to take advantage of the 30,000 new long-term care beds over the next 10 years, including 5,000 by 2022.
In Peterborough, we are fortunate to have a great organization like the CMHA-HKPR and their partners who provide second to none care for those dealing with mental health issues.
Our government recognizes that funding for mental health has been an issue and that’s why we are making a historic investment of $2.1 billion over the next 4 years - to expand access to integrated, high-quality mental health and addictions services for all Ontarians.
We are also increasing access to publicly funded structured psychotherapy, expanding Mental Health Services for Children by investing $570 million for community based services for children and youth and implementing a needs-based funding model.
We will be increasing access to students - providing every high school in the PVNCCDSB and KPRDSB’s with access to mental health support within the next two years to support early intervention and promote intervention.
We will be providing $425 million in funding for an additional 2,475 supportive housing units over 3 years, including 525 newly built units for people with complex mental health and addictions needs.
Ontario Drug and Dental Program
Individuals, couples and families in the Peterborough area who do not currently have benefits through work or private insurance will now be able to access this program to help offset the costs of prescription drugs and dental care. This will ease the financial burden put on individuals and families who have needed to pay for these services out of pocket.
Making Life More Affordable
For families in Peterborough with children aged 2.5 to 4 years old; our investment of an additional $2.2 billion over 3 years to increase access to quality, affordable child care will allow these families to save on average $17,000 per child in child care costs. By eliminating this financial burden, this will allow parents to go back to work when they choose and help give children the best start in life.
We are also announcing an innovation fund that will help address ongoing issues in child care, including extending child care services for Peterborough parents working long hours and in non-standard situations as well as expanding before and after school child care. This will allow parents to be more flexible when it comes to working in their jobs.
Individuals on Ontario Works and ODSP in the Peterborough area will see an increase to their rates - 3% annually for the next 3 years, starting in Fall 2018. They will also see changes to the earnings exemption to $400 / month in 2018-19 and $6,000 / year in 2019-20.
We will be helping individuals and families in Peterborough and across the province by investing an additional $1.8 billion over 3 years to strengthen and expand services to enable choice and independence among people living with developmental disabilities and their families. We will also be expanding funding for the Passport program - to ensure that more individuals in Peterborough living with a developmental disability receive at least $5,000 per year to access the supports and services they need.
Our government has taken steps to increase the guaranteed monthly payment of the Pension Benefit Guarantee Fund by 50% to $1,500. This amendment will be made retroactive so ensure former Sears Canada employees could benefit from this additional support.
Creating Opportunity for People
The province has beaten its fiscal targets every year since the recession, and is forecasting a budget surplus in 2017–18. Beginning in 2018–19, Ontario is choosing to make more investments in the care and services that the people of this province rely on. As a result, the province will run modest deficits of less than one per cent of GDP. The Budget outlines a path back to balance by 2024–25, building on the province's long track record of responsible fiscal management.
Working with our municipal partners and the City of Peterborough we will be investing more than $70 million over 10 years to support new priority municipal infrastructure projects such as the Peterborough Arena and Aquatic Complex.
For individuals and families in Peterborough County ensuring they have reliable and fast internet service is a top priority. To address the gaps in this service we are investing an additional $500 million over 3 years to expand broadband connectivity in rural and northern communities. This will directly benefit rural businesses and families in our community.
We are delivering on our commitment to invest up to $71 million towards improving cellular coverage in Eastern Ontario.
“Today’s budget is great news for Peterborough and the surrounding areas. Our government is committed to investing in new ways to help families all across the province. This budget is about creating opportunities and providing the supports people need to succeed. From our historic investment in mental health to allowing for seniors’ to stay in their homes longer, our government is delivering on our commitment to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities for success.‖
— Jeff Leal, MPP
―Ontario’s economy is getting stronger, businesses are creating record numbers of jobs, and unemployment is at the lowest rate in almost two decades. Our budget is balanced. We have a $600 million surplus. Now, we are using our strengthened fiscal position to make life more affordable for families and create new opportunity for businesses across the province. The 2018 Budget will include new investments in health care, child care and seniors care to help even more families get ahead.‖
— Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance
$17 million in funding over 4 years for Mental Health Care Services
$70 million over 10 years to support new priority municipal infrastructure projects
$2.2 billion over 3 years to increase access to quality, affordable child care
Additional $100 million over 10 years for EODF and SWODF
New Ontario Drug and Dental Program, reimbursing 80%, up to an annual maximum of $400 per single, $600 per couple and $700 for a family of four, of eligible prescription drug and dental expenses each year
$6.67 million increase for PRHC to reduce wait times and increase capacity
$500 million over 3 years for broadband connectivity
3% annual increase to OW and ODSP rates for next 3 years
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