The Ontario budget is usually one of the most anticipated annual statements of the provincial government. The release of the government’s fiscal plan is the perfect way to get a sneak peek at what the budget year will look like. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect in the budget release.
Provincial Health Cards
The government is increasing the age of eligibility for the Ontario Health Card to 66 and expanding the list of eligible services to include mental health services, substance abuse support, and domestic violence services. Eligibility for the card will increase to $800 per year, and the annual limit will rise to $1,200. This is a significant dividend increase for the program, which has seen service cuts over the years.
New Tax-Free Shopping
The government is taking a number of steps to allow Canadian businesses to again begin to charge tax-free for certain goods and services. Goods and services that can be purchased tax-free in Ontario include prescription drugs, certain health and beauty services, and travel and tourism products. The government is expanding the list of services that qualify for this tax-free status.
The province will begin implementing a harmonized sales tax (HST) that will apply to all goods and services. Currently, goods and services that are not subject to the HST but that will be taxed under the new system include Healthcare, prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
New Hydro Pilot Programs
The government is finalizing a list of programs and initiatives that will pilot the implementation of the new HST on a regional basis. These regional pilot programs are expected to begin in the fall of 2022. The goal of these programs is to determine which businesses will be affected the most by the new system and the best way to address these issues.
The Ontario budget is the culmination of a year’s work by the provincial government. The budget is meant to provide a financial update for the government and the public. It’s also the first step in the government’s plan to balance the budget. In order to get there, the government will have to make some significant changes to the spending side of the budget. The 2022 budget is expected to show some significant savings, particularly in health and education. These changes will have to occur while the federal government is still feeling the effects of the tax-reform movement in Canada. We’ll update you as the information is released and what is in the budget. Stay tuned for more updates on the government’s plans for your income taxes.