It’s budget day in Ontario Thursday and it’s a very important one. The budget must meet the approval of the NDP or we could be heading to the polls sooner than later. Will the Liberal’s hand over a budget that pleases the voters as well as the opposition?
The day before the budget is announced, Sault Ste. Marie MPP, David Oraietti is urging the NDP to support the budget that is aimed at helping families and job creation in Northern Ontario.
Today, David Orazietti MPP urged the provincial NDP to support the government’s 2014 Budget being delivered Thursday, May 1.
“Our government’s 2014 Budget builds upon the significant investments we have made in health care, education and infrastructure and represents the priorities of Ontarians,” said Orazietti. “The PC’s have irresponsibly said they will vote against the budget without even reading it, and it remains to be seen whether or not the NDP will support important investments that benefit Northerners.”
Key elements proposed in the 2014 Ontario Budget to date include:
Ontario Pension Plan
The Ontario Liberal government is working towards the development of a provincial pension plan to enhance the retirement savings of Ontarians.
Currently, more than 35 per cent of households are not saving enough to ensure a similar standard of living in retirement, and in 2012, 66 per cent of Ontario’s workers did not belong to a workplace pension plan.
The government is working with experts from the public, private and non-profit sectors to examine a range of options to help people retire with better security and will introduce pension plan legislation so that Ontarians can better afford retirement.
Multi-billion Dollar Investment in Northern Ontario Roads and Highways
The government’s “Moving Ontario Forward” plan is a new, $29 billion dedicated fund for roads, bridges and highways throughout the province. In the upcoming 2014 Budget, the government will present further details on its 10-year vision for significant investment in transportation and transit.
Nearly half of the $29 billion total fund would be available for investment outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Funding in Northern Ontario would be used to accelerate the Northern highways expansion program, which includes the four-laning and expansion of routes such as Highway 17.
Neither the NDP nor the PCs have presented a long-term plan to fund transportation infrastructure in Northern Ontario.
Significant Investment in Ring of Fire Infrastructure
The Liberal government has committed $1 billion for the development of all-season infrastructure in the Ring of Fire, which will support generations of jobs and economic growth in Northern Ontario.
The Ring of Fire is a $60 billion mineral development which includes the largest deposit of chromite ever discovered in North America. The province is calling on the federal government to match the funding commitment for this important project that will create thousands of new jobs.
Additional Investments in Home Care for Seniors and Support for Personal Support Workers
The province has announced plans to enhance supports for Personal Support Workers (PSWs) who provide care to seniors and other people with complex care needs in their own homes and communities. The government has committed to increase the hourly wage of PSWs by $4.00 over the next three years, and is also setting a new base wage for PSWs that will increase alongside the hourly wage to $16.50/hour by April 1, 2016.
Last year, PSWs delivered 31 million hours of care to 300,000 patients throughout the province.
Additional Increase to the Ontario Child Benefit
The Ontario Liberal government has announced that the 2014 Budget will include a $100 increase to the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) starting in July 2014. In addition, the province is proposing to tie future increases to the rate of inflation to help eligible families keep pace with the rising costs of raising their children.
Last year, the Liberal government increased the OCB by $110. With the proposed additional increase, the province will have more than doubled the original benefit, bringing the total annual amount to up to $1310 per child. This year’s increase will benefit hundreds of thousands of Ontario families across the province.
“I’m hopeful the NDP will put people before politics and support the government’s plan to balance the budget while continuing to deliver the quality programs and services that Ontario families rely on,” said Orazietti.
The government’s full 2014 Budget will be introduced in the Legislature on Thursday, May 1 at 4:00 pm.