NEWS: Ontario government tables fall economic statement with a minor focus on health care

At 1:30 p.m. on November 15, 2018, the Ontario Minister of Finance Honourable Vic Fedeli announced the 2018 Fall Economic Statement, which foreshadows the contents of next year’s budget.

The announcement confirmed the government’s plan to roll out tax cuts for low-income earners, putting an end to hallway health care and freeing rent control for new builds. The new deficit has been revised to $14.5 billion, a $500 million reduction from the projected deficit from earlier this year.

The “Promise Made, Promise Kept” Plan suggests more money in the pockets of Ontarians:

  • Cancelling the carbon tax, gas prices are down 4 cents a litre, saving Ontarians $260 a year in gas
  • Stopping the $308 million in Liberal tax hikes saves small businesses up to $40,000 a year
  • Repealing the Green Energy Act, a total of $790 million will be saved by electricity ratepayers
  • Low-income workers will receive a $850 in Ontario Personal Income Tax relief which will affect 1.1 million workers in Ontario
  • Cutting red tape for businesses across the province by 25% by 2020

Health Care Despite the relatively low profile given to health care, the statement does include a few updates:

  • A promise to put an end to hallway health care and wait times with the building of 6,000 new long-term care beds, with an additional 9,000 new beds in the pipeline as well
  • An investment of $90 million in 1,100 beds and spaces
  • $300 million will support these beds, which is included in the 15,000 new long‐term care beds the government commits to building over the next five years
  • A $1.9 billion investment in mental health and addictions services over the next ten years
  • Funding is promised to Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinics for individuals with substance abuse issues
  • A promise to focus OHIP+ to benefit those who need them most, which expects to generate annual savings of $250 million
  • The Patch for Patch Program implements stricter controls on prescribing fentanyl patches and requires patients to return used patches before obtaining new ones
  • The government also plans to examine the Ontario Drug Benefit Program

Read the press release here.

Read the 2018 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review here.