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Unveiling Ontario's Vision: Exploring the Ontario 2024 Budget's Allocation Strategies


The front of the Ontario Legislature Building on a sunny, cloudy day.


On March 26th, 2024, Ontario's Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy, introduced the Ontario 2024 Budget under the theme "Building a Better Ontario." The budget sets out a record-breaking total spend of $214.5 billion, marking the highest expenditure in Ontario's history. Despite this high spending, the deficit is expected to climb from a projected $3.0 billion in 2023 to only $9.8 billion for the current fiscal year. Ontario targets a balanced budget just before the upcoming general election in 2026.



 

Ontario 2024 Budget, Major Spending Highlights:

 

Housing

The Ontario 2024 Budget is investing $1.8 billion into tackling Ontario's housing crisis. Here's how:

 

  • $1 billion will go into the Municipal Housing Infrastructure Program, focusing on essential infrastructure projects.

  • Another $625 million is designated for the Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund, which will help set up the necessary infrastructure to meet Ontario's goal of constructing 1.5 million new homes by 2031.

  • The $1.2 billion Building Faster Fund, previously announced, is also helping municipalities build new homes.

 

Additionally, the Budget is giving municipalities some new strategies to deal with the housing crunch. For instance, it suggests municipalities reduce property taxes on rental properties specifically built for housing and impose higher taxes on homes left vacant by foreign owners who are using them for speculation. The hope is that these actions will encourage municipalities to start more new housing projects.

 

 

Long-Term Care

In 2024-25, the government plans to invest $155 million to help cover the rising costs of building or renovating long-term care homes. This money will be given as a subsidy to support construction projects. Eligible projects can receive up to $35-per-bed, per-day for 25 years. Non-profit organizations meeting the criteria can also turn part of this subsidy into a grant they'll receive at the beginning of construction.


Indigenous

 

1.      Skills Development and Training

The government is investing $7.3 million in the Skills Development Fund to help Indigenous workers across Northern Ontario. This money will support eight different training projects. These projects aim to prepare 1,700 workers for jobs that are really needed in important fields like forestry, construction, and healthcare.

 

One of these programs, managed by Ironworkers Local 759, will help 100 workers and job seekers improve their skills to land well-paying construction jobs. The other seven programs, led by different organizations across Northern Ontario, will also train job seekers for in-demand jobs.

 

2.     Indigenous and Northern Community Supports:

The government is investing about $94 million over three years to improve the health and well-being of Indigenous and Northern communities. This money will be used for culturally sensitive healthcare tailored to their needs. Here's a breakdown of the investments:

 

  • $60 million over three years for mental health and addiction services, including clinical support and community programs.

  • $15 million over three years for Indigenous public health programs, including vaccination efforts.

  • $11 million over three years to improve the early detection and management of foot problems caused by diabetes in Indigenous communities.

  • $8 million over three years for prevention programs targeting diabetes, smoking, and chronic diseases in Indigenous communities. These investments aim to improve health outcomes and overall well-being.

 

3.     Women’s and Children’s Health:

The government is making efforts to ensure that women and children can access culturally appropriate and safe healthcare, aiming to strengthen the health of their families. They're investing $50 million over three years, including:

 

  • $24 million over three years to improve access to the Indigenous Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program at 160 Indigenous delivery sites. This program helps Indigenous families and children start life healthy and sets a good foundation for their future health, well-being, and success.

  • $15 million over three years for Mobile Maternal Care, a mobile clinic offering prenatal to postnatal care, making maternal and newborn healthcare more accessible in remote communities.

  • $11 million over three years to support safer births in Northern Ontario. This funding will improve maternal and newborn health outcomes by providing mothers in Northern Indigenous communities with essential birthing support, including more doulas and birth helpers.

 

 

Anti-Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence

The government is taking steps to combat gender-based violence. They're adding $13.5 million over three years to existing investments of $1.4 billion over four years. This money will improve support for women, children, youth, and others at higher risk of violence or exploitation, like Indigenous and racialized communities, and children and youth in the child welfare system. Here's how they plan to use the money:

 

  • $6 million over three years for the Children at Risk of Exploitation (CARE) Unit in Kenora District. This will provide specialized support for children and youth who have been sex trafficked.

  • $4.5 million over three years for the Victim Quick Response Program+ to help victims of human trafficking and gender-based violence, especially in Northern, rural, and remote areas.

  • $2.5 million over three years to reach out to children and youth in the child welfare system and connect them with resources and education.

  • $0.5 million in 2024–25 to train workers in the child welfare sector to recognize and respond to human trafficking and identify at-risk children and youth.

 

This funding supports the government's efforts to prevent human trafficking, protect children and youth, build safer communities, and support women's well-being.

 

 

Autism

Expanding upon the government's commitment to supporting individuals with autism, there's a substantial increase in investment allocated for the Ontario Autism Program (OAP). Specifically, an additional $120 million is allocated for the program in the fiscal year 2024–25. This marks a significant escalation, effectively doubling the increment allocated in the previous fiscal year of 2023–24


 

As we conclude our overview of the Ontario 2024 budget, it's evident that significant investments are being made to address various needs across the province. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. We'll delve deeper into the budget in the coming weeks as more details are announced.


Stay tuned for our future blog posts to explore how you or your organization may benefit from these funding opportunities. Whether it's in housing, long-term care, infrastructure, or other sectors, understanding the intricacies of these allocations could make a meaningful difference for you.


Watch for our upcoming analyses on our News Page, and let's navigate the landscape of Ontario's budget together.

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