• One-handed applause for youth pharmacare plan

    … once a popular pharmacare scheme is in place, it will be politically difficult for any government to kill it. Fiscally, the Liberal drug plan has the advantage of being cheap — largely because younger people tend to be in good health. Officials say it will cost roughly $465 million a year, a relatively small amount for a government that spends more than $140 billion annually.

  • Drug plan shows Ontario Liberals still have a few tricks left

    The so-called “OHIP+” plan will make prescriptions free for children and young people – anyone who’s 24 or younger – beginning next Jan. 1… It’s a push towards universal pharmacare, the most glaring gap in Canada’s medicare system… a national plan would be cheaper and more efficient than province-by-province solutions. But if Ottawa won’t take the lead, it’s good to see Ontario stepping up.

  • Wynne government promises much-needed investment in child care

    This funding promises to help 24,000 kids access daycare, addressing an urgent funding shortfall. Right now some 15,400 kids are on the waitlist for subsidized care, while at the same time more than 4,000 spaces sit vacant because parents can’t afford fees that run as high as $20,000 a year… Funding subsidized spaces… will help some women back into the work force, improving the family’s bottom line while boosting the economy and the tax base.

  • … Top 23 takeaways from the Ontario budget

    Ontario will become the first province to offer pharmacare to all young people, regardless of income, who are 24 and under. Some 4,400 prescription drugs will be covered… the abortion pill will provide an alternative to women seeing to end a pregnancy up to seven weeks… The province will spend $20 million to increase respite care for dementia patients and increase the number of seniors’ centres… From elementary schools to jails to seniors centres, the province is improving mental health services in many of its service areas…

  • Ottawa changes its mind on UNDRIP, but it is taking a risk

    Ms. Bennett says her government does not agree that “free, prior and informed consent” adds up to an Indigenous veto on development but, rather, that it is about “making decisions together.” “It means not putting some fully baked project in front of people and getting them to vote yes or no,” she said.

  • Ontario launches basic income pilot for 4,000 in Hamilton, Thunder Bay, Lindsay

    … single adults between the ages of 18 and 64 will receive up to $16,989 annually and couples will receive up to $24,027. People with disabilities will receive an additional $6,000. Single people would have to earn less than about $34,000 to qualify and the income cut-off for couples would be about $48,000… Those on social assistance will be able to keep their drug cards and other benefits. But Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan payments will be deducted from the basic income dollar for dollar.

  • Three Ontario cities to test basic income in three-year pilot project

    Residents of Hamilton, Lindsay and Thunder Bay will be the first Ontarians to receive a guaranteed minimum income as part of a new provincial pilot project… Premier Kathleen Wynne… said the level of support starts at just under $17,000 a year for single people, and while that isn’t extravagant, she says it will make a real difference in people’s lives.

  • Liberals set homeless reduction targets ahead of provincial talks

    The upcoming national housing strategy looks to cut by 50 per cent the number of “chronic” homeless — many of whom won’t go to shelters and may be harder to reach through traditional support systems — and “episodic” homeless, those who find themselves on the street repeatedly… The Liberals’ second budget in March showed that they wanted to get money directly to cities and service providers without having to deal with provinces.

  • Ontario’s Liberals take a big step to the left

    The Ontario government signalled its intention to move to the left over past weeks. Already they have announced: Capping class sizes in Grades 4 to 8 at 25 students a class. Significant new investments in hospitals, hard-pressed after a decade of austerity. Moving to expand rent controls, an unthinkable move just months ago. Fundamental reform of the Ontario Municipal Board, a lightning rod for controversy in land-use planning across the province. What is waiting in the wings is even more dramatic

  • Ontario embraces no-strings-attached basic income experiment

    Housing Minister Chris Ballard, responsible for Ontario’s poverty reduction strategy, says basic income “has captured people’s imaginations.” “It’s a rare opportunity to make some real change… There has been so much talk, so much written. A little bit of study here, a little bit of study there. A lot of theory. We’re going to have an opportunity to do a rock-solid pilot that is either going to prove or disprove it.”