Our Finance Minister, Charles Sousa, gave the Fall Economic Statement yesterday. The statement provided an update on how our balanced budget is working to create opportunity and fairness for all people across Ontario.
In particular, the statement focused on how we are improving health care, investing in education and ensuring fairness.
Starting January 1, 2018, Ontario will make the largest expansion of medicare in a generation with OHIP+, free prescription drug coverage for youth and children under 25.
At the same time, we announced our Ageing with Confidence plan for seniors, that will work to ensure seniors have the support they need to thrive. The plan includes investments of $155 million over three years to support seniors with 5000 new long-term care beds by 2022, and more than 30,000 beds over the next decade. This is in addition to an increase in hospital funding of $618 million and a $40-million investment in home care.
Over 210,000 students now receive free tuition under the new OSAP and we are working to create 100,000 affordable child-care spaces. We are also providing new incentives for small businesses to employ youth, including $124 million over three years to support hiring youth aged 15-29.
Our plan is also about creating fairness. Whether it’s our Fair Housing Plan to ensure housing is more affordable by expanding rent control and other targeted measures, or raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, we are committed to making life easier for all.
At the same time, we want to ensure we support our small businesses, so we are cutting the small business tax rate and implementing additional measures to lower costs and spur job growth.
Our plan and our balanced budget will work to ensure that with a growing economy, everyone can get ahead and benefit.