The McGuinty government has taken a number of steps the last few years to help families get through the recession.
Some of the highlights of the Ontario government’s annual progress report include: A 10 per cent break in electricity bills The lowest provincial income tax rate in Canada for the first $37,000 earned. Energy and property tax credits for seniors of more than $1,000.
When taken together, these credits and benefits are helping to make a meaningful difference to Ontario family finances. Working together we’re supporting one another today while building a stronger province for the future.
Helping Ontarians recover from the global recession
On January 1, 2010, 93 per cent of Ontario tax payers received a permanent tax cut. That means more money to take home with each pay cheque —the average family is saving $355 per year.
Ontario provides a sales tax credit of up to $260 for each eligible low-to-moderate income adult and child in Ontario.
To help you adjust to the HST, Ontario provided a sales tax transition benefit. If you’re eligible, by now you should have received three payments of up to $300 for single people and $1,000 for families and single parents.
Giving Ontario families a break on homes and energy costs
Ontario is taking 10 per cent off your electricity bills for the next five years. This will save the average family about $150 a year.
As of May 1, 2011, the off-peak hours for electricity savings starts at 7 p.m., adding an extra 10 off-peak hours every week.
If you’re a low-to-middle income property owner or renter with a principal residence in Northern Ontario, Ontario helped with your higher energy costs by paying families up to $200 in 2010. Single people received up to $130.
If you’re a low to-moderate income property owner or renter with a principal residence in Ontario, you received up to $900 for 2010 to help with property taxes and the sales tax on energy. Qualifying seniors received up to $1,025 for 2010.
First-time homebuyers can get up to $2,000 back as a rebate on their land transfer tax.
Lifting more children out of poverty
Ontario’s goal is to cut poverty rates by 25 per cent in five years. We are making strides together.
The Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) provides up to $1,100 annually per child to low-income families. It’s a monthly benefit paid to low-income families with children under age 18. It provides support to all low-income families with children, not just those on social assistance. That means it is easier for parents to transition from social assistance to employment because they don’t have to give up the OCB once they find a job.
To help children and youth from low-income families who have no access to dental coverage, Ontario covers dental services such as checkups, cleaning, fillings and X-rays. Since 2010, the program has helped 130,000 children 17 years of age and under.
If your child needs glasses and is in junior kindergarten, Ontario will cover the cost of an eye exam. In partnership with Jungle Eyewear (Bo Optik), Hoya Vision Care and Johnson and Johnson Vision Care, the government will provide free glasses to students who need them. The McGuinty government’s goal is to have more than 117,000 JK students get their eyes tested province-wide by 2015.
Making health care access easier for everyone
We raised the travel grant mileage rate to 41 cents a kilometre for Northerners who need to travel o access health care. We also introduced an overnight accommodation allowance of $100 per eligible trip.
And if you’re a young adult, you can get free second dose of measles, mumps and rubella vaccines from your health care provider to protect against infection.
Diabetes is a growing challenge in Ontario. That’s why the government now fully funds insulin pumps for children and youth with type 1 diabetes. That can save you up to $18,300 per child in the first five years. Adults with Type 1 diabetes also get help to control their disease and save thousands of dollars by covering the costs of insulin pumps and providing annual grants of $2,400 for supplies.
Keeping children active is very important. Ontario’s Children’s Activity Tax Credit benefits over 1.8 million children to a maximum of $50 each (or $100 for a child with a disability). So if your child wants to take music lessons or play hockey, you’ll get help with registration costs.
Education: A solid foundation for a bright future
Full-day kindergarten will be available in all Ontario schools by 2014. It’s not only giving our youngest students their best start academically and socially, it’s also saving families money on child care for the school year.
Ontario increased student loan limits to $360 per week for single students. We’ve also doubled the income exemption, so you can keep up to $103 per week in earnings from part-time jobs and still get help from the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).
For loans issued in 2010–11, we’ve capped the annual repayable debt at $7,300 for a two-term academic year.
The number of student grants available has more than tripled. In the 2009-10 academic year, over 143,000 students (or one in four students) received non-repayable grants.
If your family makes less than $82,000, you may be eligible for an Access Grant. These grants will help you pay for tuition.
If you qualify for OSAP and live in a rural or Northern community more than 80 kilometres away from your closest college or university, you may be eligible to receive a $300 annual grant to help you return home for visits with family. Students who live at home and commute regularly back and forth may receive up to $500 each term to help with those costs.
To learn more about the steps the McGuinty Government is taking to help with your family's finances please visit:
Family Finances Progress Report
Ontario Progress Report 2011