- Ontario’s 2023 budget is the largest in the province’s history, totaling $204.7 billion.
- The budget focuses on investing in critical sectors, such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure, to foster economic growth and create job opportunities.
- Highlights of the budget include expanded healthcare staffing, expanded prescribing power for pharmacists, a new provincial park, tax credits for manufacturers, and an expansion of the Guaranteed Annual Income System for seniors.
The Doug Ford government tabled its spending plan for 2023, which has the largest budget in the province’s history, and despite the spending plan, the government claims it is on track to balance the budget by 2025. The post-pandemic budget emphasizes industry to support an uncertain economy. Below are the highlights of the budget and what it means for Ontarians.
Largest Budget in History
Ontario’s budget 2023 which is $204.7 billion is the largest in the province’s history, exceeding last year’s spending by over $6 billion. The government’s focus is on investing in critical sectors, such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure, to foster economic growth and create job opportunities.
Balancing the Budget
The government claims it is on track to balance the budget by 2025. The deficit dropped to about $2.2 billion for the current fiscal year and is expected to continue to decrease, reaching a surplus of $200 million in 2024-2025.
Investment in Healthcare
The budget proposes an investment of approximately $200 million to address staffing shortages in healthcare. An additional $80 million over three years will be committed to expanding nursing education in universities and colleges. Over $41 million will be used to hire healthcare workers, including 200 medical supervisors, and retain mid-to-late career nurses.
Expanded Prescribing Power for Pharmacists
Ontario pharmacists will be able to prescribe more medications in the fall, in addition to the 13 ailments already allowed. The expanded prescribing power will include medications that treat moderate acne, canker sores, diaper dermatitis, yeast infections, pinworms, threadworms, and nausea and vomiting related to pregnancy.
New Provincial Park
Ontario’s 2023 budget pledges to create a new provincial park with four-season facilities and 250 new campsites. Although the budget does not provide details on the location of the park, it is expected to offer activities such as swimming, hiking, and cross-country skiing.
Protected Area in Uxbridge
Ontario is exploring the creation of a new “protected area” in Uxbridge. No additional details have been provided about this project.
Tax Credit for Manufacturers
Canadian-controlled private corporations will now be eligible for a 10% refundable tax credit of up to $2 million a year for buildings, machinery, and equipment. This will cost $780 million.
Expanded OHIP-Covered Surgeries
Ontario will provide an additional $72 million to OHIP-covered surgeries being performed at community surgical and diagnostic centers.
Guaranteed Annual Income System Expansion
The Ontario government is expanding the Guaranteed Annual Income System to allow 100,000 more seniors to become eligible as of July 2024. This is part of the government’s effort to reduce poverty among seniors.
Skills Development Fund
Ontario will allocate $75 million to the Skills Development Fund over the next three years, with $224 million going toward building and upgrading training centers in the province. The Skills Development Fund supports skills training for the province’s workforce, particularly for those who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
No More Sick Days
Ontario has decided not to extend the temporary three-day pandemic sick leave program that expires on March 31.
No More Detailed COVID Costs
The government has removed details of time-limited COVID-19-specific funding from the budget. However, the government is pledging $113 million over three years for emergency readiness.
In conclusion, the 2023 budget tabled by the Doug Ford government in Ontario has significant highlights that will impact various sectors in the province. The largest budget in the history of the province, along with a focus on balancing the budget by 2025, will likely bring economic growth and job opportunities. The investment in healthcare expanded prescribing power for pharmacists, and expansion of the Guaranteed Annual Income System are notable highlights for citizens’ welfare. The tax credit for manufacturers, the new provincial parks, and the protected areas in Uxbridge are also essential developments for the business and environmental sectors.