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York Region MPPs Engage Community Members in 2016 Post-Budget Forum

RICHMOND HILL – This morning, York Region MPPs Reza Moridi, Chris Ballard, Michael Chan, Steven Del Duca, and Dr. Helena Jaczek jointly hosted a presentation and discussion on the 2016 Ontario Budget: Jobs for Today and Tomorrow.

The MPPs elaborated on the highlights of the Budget and took questions from the audience of almost 200 who represented a diverse cross-section of local residents, businesses, municipal government officials and community organizations.

Five important things to know about the 2016 Budget include:

      1. Building Prosperity and Creating More Jobs

  • Ontario is on track to create more than 900,000 net new jobs by 2019 and our province’s unemployment rate continues to be below the national average.
  • Our government is committing to $400 million over the next 5 years to the Business Growth Initiative to modernize business regulations, lower business costs and make more Ontario firms into global industry leaders.
  • Ensuring that all Ontarians have a more secure retirement is part of the plan.
  • Our government is making the biggest public infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history — $160 billion over 12 years —  to help people spend more time with their families and to move goods more efficiently, while supporting the creation of 110,000 jobs per year.
  • Student financial assistance is being transformed to make average college and university tuition free for students with financial need from families with incomes of $50,000 or lower, and to make tuition more affordable for middle-income families.
  • Ontario is taking action on climate change by investing all the proceeds from cap and trade into green projects.

      2. Towards a Fair Society

  • Social assistance rates will be increased by 1.5% while providing a further top-up to those with the lowest social assistance rates.
  • Our government is supporting the goal to end chronic homelessness by investing a further $178 million over three years under Ontario’s Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy.
  • An investment of $333 million over 5 years will be made to redesign and consolidate autism services for children and youth in Ontario.

      3. Transforming Health Care

  • Our government is increasing funding for hospitals by $345 million, including the first increase to hospital base budgets in five years.
  • The Budget includes a proposal to make the shingles vaccine free for eligible seniors — saving them about $170 in emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
  • An additional $75 million over the next 3 years will be invested in community-based residential hospice and palliative care-for a total of about $155 million.

      4. Making Everyday Life Easier

  • The government is making hospital parking more affordable for approximately 900,000 patients and visitors, including 135,000 seniors.
  • The $30 fee for the Drive Clean emissions test will be eliminated in 2017-18.
  • Wine, beer and cider will be introduced in grocery stores across Ontario.
  • The Union Pearson Express (UP Express) fares are lowered to make it a more attractive option for commuters travelling between Union Station and Pearson airport.

      5. A Balanced Path to a Balanced Budget

  • Ontario is on track to balance the budget in 2017-18
  • While our government continues to invest in the key public services families rely on, we are making progress in our plan to eliminate the deficit by investing in economic growth, transforming government and responsibly managing spending and addressing the underground economy to ensure businesses pay their fair share of taxes.

QUOTES

“The historic modernization of student financial assistance in the 2016 Budget is tremendous news for students and their families across the province. By making tuition free for tens of thousands of low-and middle-income students and increasing eligibility for support to so many more, our government is demonstrating how firmly we believe in the importance of investing in Ontario’s people.”

— Reza Moridi, MPP Richmond Hill

“Today’s budget has real benefits for residents in Newmarket-Aurora and across Ontario.  The government is investing $160 billion in infrastructure projects like schools, hospitals, roads and transit. I’m delighted that we are making large investments in education, as seen by the Ontario Student Grant which would pay for average college or university tuition for students whose families make $50,000 or less.  Our government is also investing in health care by investing $345 million in hospitals.  There’s good news for Newmarket-Aurora GO Bus and GO Train riders with 52 new train trips on the Barrie Corridor announced and 130 new bus trips. I believe this budget helps ensure middle class families will have a more secure future, as we create new, good jobs, ensure retirement security and invest in health care.”

— Chris Ballard, MPP Newmarket-Aurora

“I am excited about the additional investment of $30 million in our Going Global Export Strategy. This is great news for Ontario, including Markham-Unionville. We will fuel continued growth by increasing Ontario’s exports, growing the number of exporters, and diversifying export markets to help deliver on our number one priority: growing the economy and creating jobs.”

— Michael Chan, MPP Markham-Unionville

“This Budget is about making everyday life easier for families in the York Region by lowering costs and making important investments in health care, transportation and post-secondary education.  Our government is making the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history which will help people spend more time with their families, move goods more efficiently, and support the creation of 110,000 jobs per year.”

— Steven Del Duca, MPP Vaughan

“As a physician, I am proud that our government is making a significant investment of more than half a billion dollars in hospitals, cancer care, palliative care and home care. Ontarians, including those in my riding of Oak Ridges-Markham, can be confident that we are continuing to improve the essential services they need when they are sick or injured.”

— Dr. Helena Jaczek, MPP Oak Ridges-Markham

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