Dear friends & neighbours,
Yesterday, the Ontario government presented their 2020 Budget, outlining their priorities for the year ahead.
Ontario has not been immune to the devasting impacts of COVID-19. In fact, it has touched every part of our lives. It is a challenge the likes of which we have not faced before and now, more than ever, Ontarians are looking to their government for support.
My initial observation of the budget can be summarized by saying it’s big on spending, but short on details. Much of what was outlined in the document is previously announced funding, meaning there are not many new initiatives.
Unfortunately, some of Ontarian’s biggest concerns were not addressed in the budget.
Despite announcing plans to achieve 4 hours of direct hands on care per resident living in Long-Term Care earlier this week, the budget document did not outline a funding plan to achieve this target.
The government did nothing to address our children’s overcrowded class rooms, neglecting repeated calls from public health officials and education leaders for smaller, safer classrooms.
Ontario’s small businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19. No direct rent relief has outlined in the budget, something that businesses have been asking for since the beginning of the pandemic.
The idea of providing a 20% tax credit for domestic travel throughout the province is promising and something that could help our tourism sector greatly. I look forward to the government announcing more details.
I was disappointed to see that there was no mention or financial support outlined for Ontario’s hospices. Most hospices rely heavily on community fundraising and were simply asking for additional help to cover clinical costs. In comparison to the overall budget, hospice and end-of-life care is a relatively small ticket item however assists thousands of families at time when they are most vulnerable.
These are my initial observations of what I’ve seen so far. I will be taking time over the coming days and weeks to review the document in more detail.
I encourage you to review the 2020 Budget here: https://budget.ontario.ca/2020/pdf/2020-ontario-budget-en.pdf
As always, I will continue to fight for the things that are most important to our families – our schools, our hospitals, a strong economy, a healthy environment and taking care of the most vulnerable.
MPP, Ottawa South