Nov 04, 2021

By Christine Ross

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Ontario is boosting spending in healthcare, long term care, roads, bridges, and phasing out COVID supports as it charts a path out of the pandemic.

Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy released the 179-page fall economic outlook that projects a deficit this fiscal year of $21.5 billion, lower than the $33.1 billion projection from the budget.

“Our plan says yes to building more space for our seniors including 30,000 new long term care beds and another 28,000 to be refurbished,” said Bethlenfalvy. “Our promise to Ontario seniors is that they can live in comfort, dignity and safety.”

Starting in 2024-25, the government says it will spend an additional $3.7-billion to build 10,000 more long-term bed and upgrade another 12,000 existing beds. Ontario is putting an additional $549 million over three years to improve home care for patients recovering from surgery.

This is in addition to $342 million to upgrade training for thousands of PSW’s and nurses. The fiscal blue print also commits funding to the controversial Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass.

The NDP’s finance critic Catherine Fife says this government has warped priorities.

The fiscal blueprint also provides $17 million to extend a program giving access to dental services for some seniors.

There are no tax cuts but the province is introducing a staycation tax credit and enhancing or extending several existing tax credits, including the Ontario Seniors’ Home Safety tax credit.

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