Spending

Record spending, tax credits and a new fleet: 10 things to know about the Ontario budget

Reduce, reuse, recycle, reintroduce.

Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy has cut waste by not printing new budget books for his reintroduced spending plan that reuses policy promises and recycles many projections from the April 28 tax plan.

Here are some highlights of Bethlenfalvy’s 2022-23 budget tabled in Queen’s Park following Tuesday’s Speech from the Throne:

  • It’s a record $198.6 billion plan that spends 25% more than former Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne’s final $158.5 billion budget in 2018.
  • Ontario’s revised deficit this year is $18.8 billion, down from $19.9 billion projected in April, due to higher-than-expected tax revenues.
  • A significant change from the April document is a 5% increase in Ontario Disability Support Program payments, which will cost $150 million this year, with subsequent annual increases tied to the rate of inflation.

  • Families of school-going children will receive a payment from the government to help cover all education costs related to the pandemic, under a new two-year, $225 million plan. Details on the amount per child, who is eligible and how to apply have not yet been released.
  • The Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax Credit (LIFT) has been expanded to allow more workers to qualify, raising the previous $38,500 threshold to $50,000. This means that approximately 1.1 million people will receive tax relief of approximately $300 per year.
  • A tax credit for low-income seniors aged 70 and over would give them up to $1,500 on $6,000 of expenses for in-home hospital beds, canes, walkers, hearing aids , prescription glasses, adult diapers or private caregivers.
  • The staycation tax credit will cover up to $200 of a person’s $1,000 hotel, campground or cabin rental bill in Ontario. It’s up to $400 for a family spending $2,000 and can be claimed on next year’s tax return. It is expected that 1.85 million people will claim it, at a cost to the Treasury of $270 million.
  • The budget proposes a $1 billion increase in home care spending over the next three years to help seniors stay at home, easing pressure on hospitals and long-term care facilities.
  • Starting in the spring of 2023, a $61 million “learn and stay” grant program for tuition and books for 2,500 post-secondary students entering nursing and other priority programs and agree to work in underserved communities in the area where they studied.

  • There will be a new provincial park at a location yet to be determined. There are 340 provincial parks in Ontario, but this would be the first new one in 40 years.
Robert Benzie is the bureau chief at Star’s Queen’s Park and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

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