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How will the NEW Ontario budget affect you?

Posted by Anneke Cundasawmy on Friday, February 26th, 2016 at 9:07am.

How will the budget affect homeowners?

Of the 4 million households in Ontario, 37,000 (an underwhelming less than one percent) will qualify for home energy audits, after which they can apply for this $100M program announced Thursday to assist homeowners to upgrade furnaces, water heaters, thermostats, and insulation. No start date, rebate amounts nor eligibility rules yet.

According to Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray, the government's goal is greenhouse gas emissions reduction, job creation, and lower residential natural gas bills, saying, "This investment will help homeowners upgrade their homes and save money, while keeping Ontario on the path toward a low carbon future."

The headline-grabber has been the new free tuition for students of low-income families. As my friend Karen said, "People might be able to buy houses sooner because of lower student loan debt." Good point: it does make getting on the property ladder sooner a possibility!


You can download the budget here:


Here are some highlights from the new budget:

Source: Sandie Benitah,                                     

Key points

  • Free tuition for low-income students
  • Eliminating $30 drive-clean emissions test fee
  • Cigarettes will cost more
  • Wine will cost more
  • Free shingles vaccine for seniors 65-70
  • Higher medication costs for seniors
  • New infrastructure funding
  • Cap and Trade system increases costs for drivers, homeowners
  • Projected deficit of $5.7B in 2015-16 ($2.8B lower than what was forecast in 2015 budget)
  • Free tuition for students from families earning less than $50K
  • Minimal debt for low-income students
  • Non-repayable grants for more than 50 per cent of students from families making less than $83K
  • Grants in most cases greater than average tuition
  • Grants will be available up front
  • More financial support for mature and married students

Economic health

  • Projected deficit of $5.7B in 2015-16
  • Province on track to beat deficit target 7th year in a row
  • Balanced budgets projected between 2017 and 2019
  • (Last time provincial budget was balanced was in 2007)
  • Ontario’s GDP growth expected to outpace Canada’s average
  • Ontario’s real GDP growth projected at 2.5 per cent in 2015

Cap and Trade

  • Starts in 2017
  • Goal is to reach reduction targets for 2020 and 2030
  • Increased costs for drivers, homeowners
  • $5 more to heat an average home
  • An increase of about 4 cents a litre for fuel
  • Program would generate $1.9B each year
  • Investments towards energy efficient homes, business
  • Money towards funding innovation, infrastructure, clean technology


  • Commitment to lowering price to UP Express
  • Non-presto users pay $12, Presto users, $9
  • Increased spending to $160B over 12 years
  • Includes $16B in 2016 for GTHA to improve GO Transit, LRT, HOT lanes


  • Increased funding of $345M
  • Shingles vaccine free for Ontario seniors between 65-70
  • More money for cancer care services -- $130 million over three years
  • An additional $75 million to community based residential hospice and palliative care
  • $85 million to help recruit staff for primary care teams
  • $1 million for support services to help those who miscarry, lose infant
  • $178 million over three years to help end homelessness


  • Changes coming to drug program on Aug. 1, 2016

   Good news

  • More low-income seniors will benefit from drug program
  • Income needed to qualify increased to $19,300

   Bad news

  • Seniors with income higher than $19,300 pay more for medicine
  • Drug deductible increase for seniors making more than $19,300
  • Deductible increases from $100 to $170
  • Co-payment to increase by $1, from $6.11 to $7.11


  • Will cost $3 more per carton, or about 30 cents/pack
  • Increased tobacco taxes annually at rate of inflation beginning 2017
  • Will use $5M in new tobacco tax revenue to support services that help people quit smoking

Alcohol tax

  • Cost of wine going up
  • Cost will go up in 2017, 2018 and 2019
  • $13.95 wine bottle will cost $14.50 in 2019
  • Increase in minimal retail price for table wine to $7.95
  • It’s first wine markup since 1998
  • Ontario has lowest average wine prices in Canada


  • Ontario’s unemployment rate below Canadian average
  • Unemployment rate dropping since 2014
  • Unemployment rate was 6.7 per cent in Jan. 2016
  • Projected unemployment rate in 2019 is 6.1 per cent
  • 78,000 net new jobs projected in 2016
  • 300,000 new jobs between now and 2019
  • (900,000 new jobs over 10 years since 2009 recession)


  • Implementing Cap and Trade program
  • Financial support for homeowners who retrofit houses
  • Eliminate Debt Retirement Charge (DRC) for all electricity users in April 2018
  • Extending Industrial Accelerator Program (IAP) to 2020 to help businesses reduce electricity costs

While selling your home for top dollar, finding your dream home, and negotiating like mad for you all the while, are key real estate services I provide... being your "local economist", digging into the details, and interpreting the often confusing media messages, is key to you having the upper hand when making housing decisions. Have questions? Just ask.

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