Budget 2019

Here is our quick summary of yesterday’s budget

Overview

There were some key investments, listed below, that focus most on children, seniors and people facing mental health issues.

There were some focused cuts that hit people living on social assistance, people in the justice system, post-secondary students, cities and social service agencies. These are also listed below.

There were also some restructuring processes announced (though not always spelled out). Again much of this restructuring affects community services and people living on low incomes. We have summarized what has been announced about them below.

There were also some broad cuts to ministries that are not yet clarified, that affect over $1.5 billion in spending, but we have to wait and see the impacts. A list of some of the more prominent cuts to ministries is below.

Investments
child care credit (slightly smaller than previously indicated) was announced, including tax incentive to offsets an income-based percentage of eligible costs, up to to a maximum of $6,000 for children under 7 to and $3,750 for older children. 
 
A previously announced, the Budget is investing $3.8 billion for mental health, addictions and housing supports over 10 years.
 
The province agreed to continue the cost-shared initiatives of the National Housing Strategy, with at least $4 billion going into housing over the next 9 years.
 
The government fulfilled an election promise with a new dental program for seniors living on less than $19,300 (or $32,300 for couples) if they don’t have other benefits.
 
There will be 15,000 new long-term care beds over the next five years and upgrading for 15,000 older long-term care beds to provide more appropriate care for patients with complex health conditions.
 
The government will be investing $1.4 billion in school repairs in the 2019-20 school year.
 
Targeted Cuts
There has been a 30% cut to Legal Aid, with little detail on how that will be implemented other than a direction to cease support for refugee and immigration law.

Gas tax revenues to cities will be frozen, which will ultimately reduce municipal revenues across the province by $385 million per year.

A review of social assistance will be undertaken to find $1 billion in savings out of the $9.2 billion system.

The government is looking for $510 million in efficiencies in community and social services over the next three years through consolidation and streamlining.

As previously announced, student financial assistance is being reduced by $600 million.

Restructuring community services
There will be a review of existing supportive housing programs designed to “streamline” the 20 programs now in place.

The current 35 Public Health Units and Boards of Health will be consolidated into 10 new regional boards of health by 2020-21.

The $510 million cut from community and social services (mentioned above) will come through various efforts at integrating and consolidating community service programs and contracts, as well as using an outcome based model, and simplify reporting requirements.

There will be a Community Housing Renewal Strategy that reorganizes systems in social housing including  changes to rent-geared-to-income processes, streamlining wait lists and make social housing providers more “sustainable”.

The province will transfer the management of employment services to new employment service system managers through a competitive process open to not-for-profit organizations and the private sector. This is in addition to previous 15% funding cuts in the sector.

For people receiving social assistance, employment supports will be moved into Employment Ontario, and the province will “streamline” Temporary Care Assistance benefits and the Transition Child Benefit (TCB), and make some changes to the benefit amounts.

Broader cuts
There are a variety of global budget cuts the impact of which are not clear, including:
•          Indigenous Affairs has been cut in half, from $146 million to $74 million
•          Environment, Conservation and Parks was cut $352 million
•          Energy, Norther Development and Mines was cut $566 million
•          Municipal Affairs and Housing was cut $367 million

If you have questions about the budget or this update please feel free to email sean@conveneTO.ca