Ontario Finance Minister, Charles Sousa, tabled Ontario’s 2015 budget on Thursday, April 23. The provincial budget contained only a few noteworthy items for aging Ontarians, most of which were an extension or iteration of what the province is already doing.
The budget capped spending on health care, projecting a growth of only 1.2%, which is less than last year’s growth in health care spending and less than inflation. However, the government continues to invest in home and community care. The budget commits new funding of $300 million over 10 years to help shift care from hospitals to community care, expanding community-sector capital grants and implementation of new approaches to healthcare delivery.
The Ontario budget also announced that the government will double its Seniors Community Grant Program to $2 million per year. This expansion will continue to help non-profits to deliver programs and projects that promote volunteerism, active lifestyles, and community involvement among seniors.
In addition, the budget reiterated of the government’s proposal for an Ontario Retirement Pension Plan that aims to replace 15% of pre-retirement income up to $90,000. The budget outlined the results of their various consultations around the low-income threshold, the impact on the self-employed and whether to exclude certain types of workplace/multi-employer pension plans. Without a conclusion, the budget states that further analysis and dialogue is needed to address the various complexities.
CARP will continue to advocate for more home and community care as part of CARP’s call for a wholesale re-design of the health care system that provides a comprehensive 360 degrees of care around the “healthcare citizens”. CARP will also continue to monitor as the government continues to design the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.