Queen’s Park Hands Down Fall Economic Outlook

LIFT credit Could Benefit A Million Ontarians

A first look at the new PC government’s fiscal direction today, with the Fall Economic Outlook.

Finance Minister Vic Fedeli handed down details today, saying a low Income Individuals and Families Tax (LIFT) credit would provide minimum wage workers up to $850 in personal income tax relief, or $1,700 for couples. Those earning $30,000 or less won’t have to pay provincial income taxes. The PC government says this will benefit over a million Ontarians.

NDP Finance Critic Sandy Shaw says raising the minimum wage would have been more beneficial however. “”This is in context of a government that has legislation before them that is going to deny workers an increase in the minimum wage, and taken away things like paid sick days. Really, if you look at the details, there are low income Ontarians, there are so many of them that don’t even earn enough money to pay income tax. So at the end of the day, they would be better off, and there is rock-solid evidence that low income earners would be better off with a minimum wage increase. I think it’s something like $2,000 better at the end of the year than this tax cut that they’re purporting.”

Fedeli says the PC Government inherited a mess from the previous Liberal government, but was nonetheless able to hew a half a billion from this year’s deficit, down to $14.5B for 2018-19.

“The magnitude of our fiscal challenge is real. It will require difficult decisions as we work to get Ontario’s finances back on track,” said Minister Fedeli. “This government believes balancing the budget and reducing Ontario’s debt burden is not only a fiscal imperative, it is a moral one. The previous government spent well beyond its means, creating a structural deficit that is unsustainable. Doing nothing is not an option — we need to spend smarter and reinvent government.”

The outlook contains about $3.2 billion in cuts, including slashing the number of legislative officers from nine to six, including the Environmental Commissioner, Child and Youth Advocate, and French Language Services Commissioner. The outlook also contains details on how the LCBO will remain open from 9am to 11pm every day of the week.