The Government of Ontario budget 2018, which was announced yesterday, includes:
- new prescription drug and dental programs for people with lower incomes starting in summer 2019.
- elimination of prescription drug deductibles and co-payments for all senior citizens starting in August 2019.
- rate increases and other vital improvements for people receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works (OW) benefits, including:
- 3% rate increase annually for OW and ODSP for the next three years starting in the fall of 2018;
- new standard flat rate starting in 2020-21;
- equalization of board/lodge and rental rates starting in the fall of 2018;
- increase in the basic employment income exemption from $200 to $400/month starting in the fall of 2018, and to $6,000/year in 2019-20;
- extension of the employment income exemption to include Canada Pension Plan, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and Employment Insurance benefits starting in 2020-21;
- elimination of ODSP asset limits in the 2019-20 fiscal year;
- increase in OW asset limits to $15,000 for singles and $20,000 for couples in the 2019-20 fiscal year;
- change in definition of “spouse” to align with period of cohabitation in the Family Law Act in November 2018;
- expansion of eligibility for the Remote Communities Allowance to more First Nation communities starting in autumn 2018.
For more information:
- Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) budget summary and analysis: http://incomesecurity.org/policy-advocacy/ontario-budget-2018-isac-analysis-and-budget-details/
- Ontario Budget 2018 on Government of Ontario websites:
- highlights: http://budget.ontario.ca/2018/index.html
- Income security section: http://budget.ontario.ca/2018/chapter-1.html#section-6
- full text: http://budget.ontario.ca/2018/contents.html
As always, HALCO provides free legal services for people in Ontario who are living with HIV. People can contact us for free legal advice at 416-340-7790 or toll-free 1-888-705-8889. Please note our intake hours for new inquiries are: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about getting legal advice from HALCO, please visit our website: www.halco.org/contact-us.
This information and the ISAC analysis are available on our website as a pdf: www.halco.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Ontario-Budget-2018-summary.pdf