On June 20, 2012 Bill 55, Strong Action for Ontario Act (Budget Measures)received Royal Assent in Ontario’s parliament.
The Strong Action for Ontario Act (Budget Measures) implements Ontario’s budget for 2012, while enacting and altering various acts. Amendments made during the passage of the bill reduced the projected provincial deficit in comparison to the original budget plan proposed on March 2012. The revised budget forecasts a deficit of $15 billion for 2011/2012 and a $0.5 billion surplus by 2017/2018.
Health-related additions made by the Standing Committee to the initial version of the budget bill include:
- A one-time investment for small and rural hospitals in Northern Ontario (at a cost of $20 million in 2012/2013)
- Reductions in spending on the 10 most popular generic prescription drugs from 25 per cent of the price of brand name equivalents, to 20 per cent (projected to raise $55 million in 2012/2013)
Other amendments include:
- A reduction in spending on consultants (projected to save $20 million in 2012/2013)
- Implementation of a two per cent surtax on individuals earning more than $500,000 a year (projected to raise $280 million in 2012/2013)
- Changes to taxation, including employer contributions to group sickness or accident insurance plans in the income of an employee, and new international taxation and anti-avoidance rules (projected to raise $53 million in 2012/2013)
- A one per cent increase to the Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Plan programs (projected to cost $20 million in 2012/2013)
- Health-related measures included in the original budget bill were not altered during the legislative process.
See CMHA Ontario’s April 5, 2012 edition of Mental Health Notes for coverage of those topics, at www.ontario.cmha.ca/mhn.
To view Bill 55, Strong Action for Ontario Act (Budget Measures), visit the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website at www.ontla.on.ca.
For more information on changes to the original budget, visitwww.news.ontario.ca/mof.