5 Ways Ontario Is Trying To Save You Money During These 'Uncertain Economic Times'
The province just released its fall economic statement.
Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy addressed the strain inflation has caused on household budgets with the rising cost of everyday goods like groceries and gas, but said he remains "confident" in the economy.
"I am confident in the resilience of Ontario's economy, its workers and its people. And I remain confident in our government's plan to maintain our fiscal flexibility, so we can provide targeted support to people and businesses today, while building for the future," said Bethlenfalvy.
Doug Ford announced on Sunday that Ontarians will potentially be able to find slight relief at the gas pumps up until December 2023 with a possible one-year extension on the gas tax cut.
The cut was introduced in July 2022 and lowers the gas tax by 5.7 cents per litre and the fuel tax by 5.3 cents per litre. However, it is set to end December 31, 2022.
Legislation for an extension on the gas tax cut was introduced today. Legislation to double the Guaranteed Annual Income System payment for about 200,00 low-income seniors for a year starting January 2023 is also set to be introduced.
This increase would help financially vulnerable seniors with a potential increase of "almost $1,000 per person" if passed.
While these new measures are aimed at helping Ontario citizens save money, the resources to provide them don't come from thin air.
Ontario provided an update on its deficit, and it's currently projecting $12.9 billion in the fiscal year 2022-23, which means the government is spending a lot more money than it's bringing in.
While that number may seem staggering, it's about $7 billion lower than the projection made in the 2022 Budget earlier this year.
The government predicts the deficit will continue to decline in the coming years, dropping to $8.1 billion in 2023-24 and to $0.7 billion in 2024-25.
Here are all the ways the Ontario government is trying to save you money in 2022.
Minimum wage hikes
In January 2022, the Ontario government raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and In October 2022, they bumped it up again to $15.50.
For those commuting, the government also got rid of "double fares" for riders going between most municipal transit systems and GO Transit in March 2022.
Teens and students paying with PRESTO also saw additional discounts to GO and UP Express fares beginning in March 2022.
Gas tax cuts
In July 2022, gas tax cuts were introduced for six months to combat rising fuel prices, and the Ontario government just proposed a 12-month extension on the program. The government claims the cut would save the average Ontario family $195 over the proposed 1.5-year span.
2021 & 2022 tax returns
2021 tax return credits provided some relief for low-income families with credits such as the Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax Credit, the Ontario Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses Tax Credit, the Seniors' Home Safety Tax Credit and the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit.
In 2022, the same tax return credits are available in addition to the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit, which covers 20% of accommodation expenses up to $1,000 for individuals and up to $2,000 for families for any trips taken within the province.
Support programs and payments
In September 2022, the Ontario government increased the rates of income support for the Disability Support Program and the Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities Program by five percent, according to a press release.
The following month, Ontario offered one-time Catch Up Payments of $200 to $250 for parents whose kids needed help after the pandemic setback with tutoring or supplies, according to the Ontario government.
Looking ahead to 2023, the government has proposed legislation to double the Guaranteed Annual Income System payment for low-income seniors.