Ontario Liberal budget to be reintroduced within 20 days
TORONTO – Ontario’s Liberals have won a majority government in the provincial election. Premier Kathleen Wynne has promised to reintroduce the Liberal budget – which failed to get the support of the opposition parties last month, triggering the election, within 20 days of the election.
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Here are some highlights from the Liberal fiscal plan:
– eliminate the $12.5-billion deficit by 2017-18.
– create a 10-year $2.5 billion Jobs and Prosperity Fund to partner with industries poised for growth. Measures include $10 million for a nine-month paid community work and service program to help graduating high school students, and $5 million in grants for the next two years for new small-scale manufacturers.
– invest $15 billion in transit projects in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, including the electrification of GO Transit commuter trains and a downtown Toronto subway relief line.
– invest $14 billion in roads, bridges, highways and other transit projects outside the GTHA, including $1 billion to support the development of the Ring of Fire in northern Ontario, with or without financial help from the Harper government.
– provide up to $230 million to expand access to natural gas in under-served communities, including agricultural communities.
– increase taxes for individuals earning more than $150,000.
– increase the minimum wage to $11 on June 1, 2014, and index it to inflation after that.
– create an Ontario retirement pension plan which could be integrated into a CPP expansion in the future.
– guarantee that every Ontarian has access to a primary care provider.
– continue to reduce health-care wait times, focusing on referrals to specialists.
– fund 20 more hospices.
– continue to expand the scope of practice for nurses and pharmacists.
– improve math scores and help kids be more active through 60 minutes of physical activity connected to their school day.
– provide wage increases to child-care workers outside the public school system.
– continue the 30 per cent off tuition grant for post secondary education.
– promise to build new campuses and create spaces for 15,000 more post secondary students in Ontario.
– increase the number of apprentices training in Ontario.