Highlights from the Ontario Fall Economic Statement
The provincial government released their Fall Economic Statement on Thursday. Billed as a pre-election mini-budget to Build Ontario, the statement proposes a number of investments in infrastructure, health care and skilled trades, but very few income tax initiatives. No income tax cuts were made. The government is projecting a deficit of $21.5B for 2021-22, a decrease of $11.6B from the deficit projected in the 2021 Budget. The government anticipates the deficit will be lowered to $12.9B by 2023-24.
Notable highlights that are proposed include:
Ontario Staycation Tax Credit
This tax credit for the 2022 tax year will provide a reimbursement of 20% of eligible accommodation expenses when travelling in Ontario for pleasure. The maximum refundable credit is $200 for individuals, and $400 for families.
Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit
The Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit is being extended for 2022. Up to 50% of tuition and other educational expenses such as occupational, trade or professional examinations, will be reimbursed, up to a maximum of $2000 for eligible applicants between ages 26 and 65.
Ontario Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit
This credit, first introduced for the 2021 tax year, is being extended for 2022. This program provides a refundable credit of 25% for up to $10,000 in eligible expenses when seniors (or relatives that live with seniors) renovate their homes to improve safety or accessibility.
Skilled Trades Strategy
The Fall Economic Statement included $90.3M for a Skilled Trades Strategy aimed at enhancing the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and the Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program.
Earlier in the week, the government announced that minimum wage would rise to $15 per hour, starting January 1, 2022. Liquor servers, whose current minimum wage is $12.55 per hour, would also see their hourly rate go up to $15 per hour.
The above proposals are contained in Bill 43 which is now being considered at Queen’s Park.