The province’s plan includes significant new investments in health care, child care, home care and mental health, and new measures to create more opportunity for people across the province. Highlights include:
1. Free Prescription Drugs for Everyone 65 and Over through OHIP+
Making prescriptions completely free for everyone 65 and over, ensuring that no senior citizen ever needs to go without necessary drugs. By eliminating the Ontario Drug Benefit annual deductible and co-pay, this saves the average Ontario senior $240 per year. This expansion of OHIP+ follows the introduction of free prescriptions for everyone under the age of 25 in the 2017 Ontario Budget.
2. More Child Care, More Choice
Providing more affordable quality child care by introducing free preschool child care for children aged two-and-a-half until they are eligible for kindergarten. This saves a family with one child $17,000, on average, and builds on the savings families get from full-day kindergarten. Early learning has been demonstrated to improve children’s academic performance throughout their lives.
3. New Ontario Drug and Dental Program
Introducing a new Ontario Drug and Dental Program, reimbursing 80 per cent — up to a maximum of $400 per single person, $600 per couple and $700 for a family of four with two children — of eligible prescription drug and dental expenses each year, for those without workplace health benefits or not covered by OHIP+ or other government programs.
4. Seniors’ Healthy Home Program
Introducing the new Seniors’ Healthy Home Program. This recognizes the costs associated with older seniors living at home, where they want to be. It provides a benefit of up to $750 annually for eligible households led by seniors 75 and over to help them live independently and offset the costs of maintaining their homes.
5. Stronger Hospitals, Better Care
Improving hospitals by providing better access to care, reducing wait times, addressing capacity issues and better meeting the needs of Ontario’s growing and aging population through an additional $822-million investment in 2018–19, as well as investing approximately $19 billion over 10 years to build and renovate hospitals.
6. Mental Health Matters
Providing better and faster access to mental health and addictions services for hundreds of thousands more children, young people and adults across Ontario — bringing the total funding to more than $17 billion over four years.
7. Home Care for Seniors
Providing more access to home and community health care services, including 2.8 million more hours of personal support and 284,000 more nursing visits, through a $650-million investment over three years.
8. Removing Barriers for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
Building a fairer society by investing $1.8 billion to strengthen services for about 47,000 adults with developmental disabilities through an approach that enables informed choices and active participation in the community.
9. Supporting Student Success with Free Tuition
Making college and university tuition free for more than 225,000 students of all ages. Free or low tuition is available for students from low- and middle-income families; tuition is free for those earning up to $90,000, and students from families who earn up to $175,000 are also eligible for financial aid.
10. Boosting the Minimum Wage and Creating Good Jobs
Providing a long-awaited raise for 1.2 million people across Ontario by increasing the minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and $15 per hour on January 1, 2019. The province is also providing $935 million in new funding over three years through the Good Jobs and Growth Plan to support Ontario businesses, students and graduates, and help attract good, well-paying jobs.