As the provincial general election nears, Ontario’s Premier Kathleen Wynne delivered her Liberal Government’s agenda in a speech from the throne on Monday.
Leading up to the June 7 election, the NDP revealed a public dental plan over the weekend, and now, the Liberal government is promising new spending on health care, home care, mental health, and child care.
The announcement came ahead of the delivery of the 2018 Ontario Budget, set to be unveiled on March 28.
Earlier this month, the province said it was “choosing to run a deficit” in the new budget in order to invest more in hospitals, mental health, long-term care, and child care across the province.
“There will be major investments in home care, to provide more services for people aging at home and provide financial relief for families caring for aging loved ones,” said Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, in the speech from the throne.
“The next budget will also prioritize the growing need for mental health and addictions care in Ontario, expanding access to mental health care, and helping to ensure people can get the support they need in our schools and our communities.”
“As a result, the 2018 Budget will show a modest deficit next year of less than 1% of our GDP, and outline a path back to a balanced budget.”
This Throne Speech is about where Ontario needs to go next. It’s about supporting care & creating opportunity. In this new & changing economy, people need new supports so they can take care of themselves & their loved ones. We get that — & our plan shows we do. pic.twitter.com/eBlckki4zb
— Kathleen Wynne (@Kathleen_Wynne) March 19, 2018
The speech stated that plans for OHIP+, the pharmacare program that is providing free medications for children and youth, include an expansion to other parts of the population.
Besides health care, the province is also promising to provide more college and university students with free tuition through changes to OSAP, and to make investments to train more apprentices for the workforce, including in emerging fields.
“The people of Ontario are our greatest strength, and our government doesn’t accept that anyone should be left to fend for themselves, particularly in this turbulent, changing economy,” said Premier Kathleen Wynne in a statement. “We’re taking bold steps to ensure the best care for our children, our seniors and our friends and family members.”
During the speech, Dowdeswell said that since the Liberals were elected in 2014, “Ontario’s achievements have set us apart as a place of fairness, caring, and opportunity.”
“In Ontario, we always aim higher… the challenges we face today may seem daunting, at times even insurmountable,” the speech concluded.
“But if there is anywhere in the world that can figure out the best way to confront them, and emerge, fairer, stronger and more united, it is Ontario.”