Aug 09, 2022

By Christine Ross

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The Ford government has re-tabled the budget with two key changes: a 5% increase in Ontario Disability rates and a $225 million payment to parents to help children “catch up.”

Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy is projecting a deficit of $18.8 billion, an improvement of $1.1 billion from the outlook presented in the previous budget.

Bethlenfalvy was asked why the surplus isn’t going to healthcare amid the current crisis.

“I think the prudent thing to do given the economic uncertainty, given the investments we’re making to protect people, to build our critical infrastructure support, the human resources to support workers and make sure they have the skills and training for the infrastructure we’re building is the wise and prudent thing to do,” said Bethlenfalvy.

The Chief Membership Officer with the Zoomer advocacy group CARP David Cravit  commented on references to healthcare in the Throne Speech and budget.

“I do think the topic is engaging them and I do think they recognize that their success and maybe even their re-election is going to depend on delivering this,” said Cravit. “I think it’s a very big contrast the seriousness with which the language and the number of words they devoted contrasted to the minister of health herself when she said well it’s serious but it’s not really a crisis, I think it’s too soon to say I see another Merilee Fullerton coming our way but certainly her initial efforts to tap dance around this were not impressive.”

The Financial Accountability Officer said in April that the government underspent 7.2 billion in 2021-22 but Bethlenfalvy refused to be clear if ALL the healthcare budget has been spent.

Meantime, the increase to O-D-S-P will begin this September with $58 more a month for people with disabilities who currently receive 11-hundred-and-69 a month.

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