The Progressive Conservative government on Thursday released the first budget of their mandate, which is projected to run a $10.3 billion deficit with Ontario's books not returning to balance for five years.
Ontario's Progressive Conservative government has tabled its plan to gradually balance the budget over five years.
The emphasis on booze comes as the Tories constrain program spending across the board in an effort to chip away at a deficit that stands at $11.7 billion.
Likewise, annual deficits will continue rising, projected at $10.3 billion this year, $6.8 billion in 2020-21, $5.6 billion in 2021-22 and $3.5 billion in 2022-23.
While many were expecting significant cuts in the provincial budget, the government announced a new tax credit for child-care support for families with incomes of up to $150,000. The budget also contains a program to provide free dental care for low-income seniors.
Parents would need to keep the receipts for the child-care expenses they incur.
It says the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities will consult with the post-secondary sector on how to deal with the issue.
Thompson has said proposed changes to education also include the implementation of stronger math, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and financial literacy curricula and improved skilled trades opportunities.
The government plans on introducing legislation that would allow municipalities to designate parks for the consumption of alcohol.
Bars and restaurants will also be allowed to advertise "happy hour" specials.
When talking about convenience for Ontarians, Fedeli announced they are continuing to move forward with the plan to allow corner stores, big box stores and even more grocery stores to sell alcohol. "They know that their children's health and safety depends on governments that are going to take responsible action". Ontarians spend $500 million annually gambling online, Fedeli said - mainly through grey-market or illegal wagering websites.
Like the federal government, Ontario has favored faster write-offs of capital investments rather than corporate tax cuts to bolster competitiveness with the United States.
Motorists may soon be able to show proof of insurance electronically.
Time and again he said that the provincial government had found savings of 8 cents on the dollar and yet spending still went up, not down.
It says insurance forms, policies and other documents will also be simplified so drivers can make informed decisions more easily.
Ontario, pre-Doug Ford, also had the lowest per-capita revenues of any province. The government could not specify what criteria will be used to evaluate performance, saying it will work with institutions to develop them. In addition to tackling the deficit, the government is also taking aim at the net debt - now pegged at $343 billion - through ensuring surpluses and unused reserve or contingency funds go to paying it down.
Licence plates, in particular, will be blue and carry the new slogan "A Place to Grow", which will replace the current "Yours to Discover" slogan.
The government is also ending the Estate Administration Tax for taxable estates with assets of $50,000 or less on January 1, and reducing it by $250 for larger estates.
The government says about 2,500 out of the roughly 30,000 taxable estates in the province will be exempt from the tax.
That's money, as Fedeli noted, which can't be spent on more health-care workers, fixing schools or reducing taxes.
"There certainly weren't a lot of the details I was looking for, particularly related to Northern Ontario", Gravelle said.
The budget "sends a message to the world that we are serious about fiscal sustainability", Finance Minister Vic Fedeli told a media briefing.
"We were braced for deep cuts, but no one was prepared for the level of irresponsibility and outright cruelty in Ford's budget", said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.
The opposition parties also questioned why Premier Doug Ford's government was "obsessed" with booze.
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