Speech Focuses on Government’s Record of Making Life More Affordable and the Next Steps
A News Release from the Office of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne
Posted April 24th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was at the Canadian Club in Toronto this past Monday, April 23rd for a major speech about her government’s record and the next steps in the government’s plan for care and opportunity.
In front of a packed audience of over 400, the Premier spoke about the big changes her government has made over the past four years and the ways these bold, new steps are starting to ease the burdens families are under, restore fairness in the economy and help people get ahead in this period of rapid global change and uncertainty, including:
- Introduced free tuition for more than 235,000 college and university students
- The biggest expansion of medicare in a generation with OHIP+ Children and Youth Pharmacare
- Increased the minimum wage to $14, benefiting over one million workers
- Rolled out Full-Day Kindergarten across the province, saving families thousands of dollars a year and giving every child a great early learning experience
- Greatly reduced smog days, put a cap on greenhouse gas pollution and made big polluters pay, and provided hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of incentives and support for people to make low-carbon, energy-efficient choices that save them money
- A Fair Housing Plan that has calmed the market and has extended rent controls to all tenants to protect them from unfair rent gouging.
The Premier talked about the choices all governments must make at this economic juncture, and about why her government is choosing to invest in the people of Ontario and their capacity to care for each other and have good job opportunities.
Having spent the past four years balancing the Budget by 2017-18 while introducing new programs and supports, Premier Wynne emphasized that while Ontario’s economy has been performing well in recent years, the government needs to do more to ease the pressure working families are under, support caregivers and create opportunities.
The next steps in the government’s plan for care and opportunity include:
- Making child care free for preschool children from the age of 2.5 until they are eligible to start kindergarten beginning in 2020, saving families up to $17,000 per child, per year and helping parents return to work when they choose
- Raising the minimum wage to $15 on January 1, 2019, a $2,000 raise for full-time minimum wage earners
- Expanding OHIP+ to everyone 65 and over, making eligible prescriptions free for half the population in 2019
- Investing a record $2.1 billion over four years to transform mental health and addictions services
- Increasing support for seniors and their caregivers, including an additional $650 million over three years to add more home care services and the Seniors’ Healthy Home Program, up to $750 a year for eligible households to offset the costs of living independently.
- Since 2014, Ontario’s economy has grown faster than any G7 country. The unemployment rate is currently at a 17-year low. But many families continue to live paycheque to paycheque.
- Under the new free tuition program, about 10,000 single mothers are studying tuition-free.
- Increased access to affordable, safe, licensed child care is the number one recommendation from the Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee to close the gender wage gap.
- As of April 20, 2018, more than 1.2 million children and youth have had 3.74 million eligible prescriptions filled for free under OHIP+.
- Ontario’s historic $2.1-billion investment in mental health and addictions will reduce wait times, add 400 mental-health workers to support high school students and increase access to psychotherapy for up to 350,000 more people.
- The province’s investments in education have increased the high school graduation rate from 68 per cent in 2004 to an all-time high of 86.5 per cent.
“I have chosen to invest in the people of this province because I know that people are Ontario’s greatest strength, and the way we care for each other is our greatest quality. But in a changing economy, all of that is under pressure. Families are under pressure. Now is the time to invest in care and opportunity in order to help everyone who is working hard and deserves to get ahead.”– Kathleen Wynne Premier of Ontario
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