Toronto, ON – This afternoon the Ontario government tabled their Fall Economic Statement (FES). While there were some positives, namely Ontario joining the federal vaping tax and the removal of HST on purpose-built rentals, overall, the FES leaves much to be desired at a time when Ontarians are struggling to put food on the table.
There were no new affordability measures introduced in the economic update. The word “affordability” does not appear once in the Fall Economic Statement. To assist struggling Ontarians, the government could have used this opportunity to implement real rent control or to increase social assistance rates or the Ontario Child Benefit. After today’s unambitious economic update, no Ontario family is better off today than they were yesterday.
Instead of assisting people at a time when food prices and food bank usage are at historic levels, the government chose not to act. Instead of supporting teachers by investing in classroom supports or students by properly funding the student nutrition program, the government chose not to act. Instead of investing more to address the unprecedented mental health and addictions crisis, the government chose not to act. Instead of helping out seniors by adjusting the seniors dental benefit so that seniors across the province don’t lose their coverage, the government chose not to act.
Instead of helping Ontarians, this government chose not to act. Like the 2023 Budget released this past spring, the most important thing missing from the FES is an investment in the people of this province.
Even their flagship promises fall short of having any meaningful impact. They are promising to build more hospital beds, but have taken no action to ensure there are nurses to staff them. They want to build new early childhood education spaces, but won’t pay early childhood educators enough to work in them. The message to the people of Ontario from today’s economic update is clear – you’re on your own.
Ontario’s economic strength is its people. If this government can only get it done for its friends but not for the people of Ontario, it needs to step aside for a government that will.