|Ontario is taking steps to help families afford the costs of caring for children and seniors, highlighting a package of measures that are easing the financial pressures people are facing in today’s rapidly changing economy.
The Premier was at the EarlyON child and family centre at St. Paul Catholic School today to talk with families about the way uncertainty in the economy is impacting their ability to care for their loved ones and keep up with the bills, and hear how the package of supports the government has announced is helping. Recent changes the government has made to make life more affordable for families at every stage include:
- The introduction of OHIP+ to make prescription medications free for everyone under the age of 25, which has already provided over one million people with 2.3 million free prescriptions
- Qualifying more seniors for lower prescription drug costs under the Ontario Drug Benefit program, free shingles vaccine for seniors aged 65 to 70 and expanded funding to cover the costs of fertility services
- Building on the savings that families get from Full-Day Kindergarten, providing more Ontario children with high-quality care with a commitment to helping 100,000 more kids access licensed child care and offering additional financial support for families by providing subsidies for approximately 60 per cent of all new spaces
- 25 per cent off hydro bills as part of the Fair Hydro Plan, with extra support for rural and low-income families
- Free tuition at colleges and universities for more than 225,000 students, and more generous, non-repayable grants for students whose families earn up to $175,000
- An enhancement to the first-time homebuyers refund, expanding rent control to private market rental units in Ontario, and a Fair Housing Plan that has helped the housing market rebalance
- A public transit tax credit that saves seniors up to $450 and fare integration measures that have lowered the cost of commuting when transferring to and from the TTC and GO/UP Express network by about $700 per year for the average commuter
- Thousands of dollars available in rebates and financial support for homeowners who make energy-efficient upgrades, supported by the proceeds of Ontario’s carbon market.
When factors like age, number of children and household earnings are taken into account, these steps add up to hundreds and in many cases thousands of dollars of savings per family per year. The Premier highlighted the steps taken to date in order to underline the need for government to do more to support caregivers and families .
Making life more affordable is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.