Jessica Bell MPP, University–Rosedale

Government of Ontario

What's in this year's budget?

Published on March 27, 2024

The Ontario budget was released yesterday. It’s the biggest provincial announcement of the year, and outlines the government’s priorities.

I’m always a little hopeful before the budget announcement, and then my disappointment grows as I flip through the pages and read the details. 

Here’s my takeaway.  This year’s budget doesn’t do a lot to address the doctor shortage, help you find a home you can afford to rent or buy, or help your child in school, but it does spend a lot on roads and infrastructure.

Meanwhile the deficit has increased to $10 billion, largely due to a reduction in tax revenue.

We’ve included a comprehensive sector by sector breakdown on our website below.

I think Ontarians deserve a better budget than this, one that invests in healthcare, housing, education and greening our economy. 

We’re hosting an online budget breakdown townhall with the excellent Center for Policy Alternatives – Ontario on Wednesday April 3 from 6 – 7pm so you can get updates, share your perspective, have your questions answered, and take action.  RSVP here.

I will be speaking to the budget in the legislature so please send me your feedback and written submissions so I can include them in my speaking notes. 

The budget – called Bill 180 - will go to committee, and you can sign up to speak or send your written submissions to committee members here.

I look forward to your feedback and ideas.


Jessica Bell


  • Total spending: $214.5B
  • Total Revenue: $205.7B 
  • Down 7.3B from projected revenues in the 2023 budget  
  • Total deficit: $9.8B (2024-25), up from $3.0B in 2023-24 


  • INFLATION: 2.6% - down from 3.8% last year 
  • GDP: 0.3%  
  • JOBS: 0.8% 
  • UNEMPLOYMENT: 6.7%  

Health Care

What’s in the Budget: 

  • $1.5B increase in 2023-24 (that's last year) than reported because the government lost their law suit, and were forced to allocate funding to compensate workers who had their wages capped because of Bill 124 in last year's budget. 
  • $50B over 10 years for health infrastructure (re-announcement) 
  • $36B in capital grants  
  • $620M over 10 years for “health system partners” to update infrastructure. It's unclear if this will go towards private clinics or public health.  
  • A new medical school in Vaughn for York University that is focused on training family doctors. There's no timeline or funding for this project. 
  • $965M for hospital operating funds; this amounts to a 4% base funding increase, which is still under inflation and hospitals are facing deficits.   
  • $546M over three years to new and expanded inter-professional primary care teams. This investment will connect 600,000 people to primary care, however, that is still a fraction of the 2.3 million people currently without primary care.  
  • It’s unclear in this announcement how many teams this funding will support, or which communities will receive it.  
  • Total investment in primary care since 2023-24 has reached $606M. 
  • $30M announcement for Learn and Stay which provides funding to students studying in priority postsecondary programs in underserved and growing communities in Northern, Southwestern and Eastern Ontario on the condition they stay and work in underserved areas.
  • $50M over three years to recruit and retain healthcare workers in Northern Ontario 
  • $94M over three years for culturally responsive care in Indigenous and Northern communities 
  • $743M over three years for healthcare workforce  
  • Make extern program permanent  
  • Making supervised practice program for nurses permanent  
  • Amalgamating Late Career Nursing and Clinical Preceptor program to create Clinical Scholar Program 
  • $396M over three years on mental health and addictions, adding to the $3.8B over 10 years for Roadmap to Wellness 
  • $8.3M over three years for 5 more mental health hubs 
  • $128M over three years to increase enrollment of 2000 Registered Nurses and 1000 Registered Practical Nurses at publicly assisted colleges and universities. 
  • $12M for a new health tech accelerator funding 
  • Hospice care: 84 adult beds, 12 pediatric beds  
  • Increasing access to virtual care through Health811 + integration with OHTs 

What’s missing: 

  • Significant increases to Northern travel grants 
  • Funding for supervised consumption sites 
  • Paid Sick Days  

Seniors and Long-Term Care  

What’s in the Budget: 

  • $155M to fast-track construction of long-term care homes by Nov 30, 2024 
  • $2B in home and community care sector plus increased compensation for workers. This is an increase from $1B in the 2023 budget, however the sector noted very little of the original $1B was allocated and distributed.  
  • Improvements to client health and related information system (CHRIS) for home care. This program will effectively replace care coordinators in the long-term care and home and community care sector.  


  • GAINS eligibility threshold to increase from $1992 to $4176 for singles and $3984 to $8352 for couples 
  • $152M over three years for supportive housing  
  • Rent supplements for 10,679 supportive housing units  
  • Maintaining 1137 dedicated supportive housing units with expiring operating agreements 
  • Indwell community homes to receive $$ for housing 640 individuals   
  • Funding to maintain Salus (Ottawa) and CMHA North Bay and District supportive housing  
  • $9M over three years for Stonehenge Therapeutic Community and Guelph Community Health Centre; including supportive housing 

What’s missing: 

  • Funding for staffing to meet the minimum of four hours of care a day required in long term care homes.  
  • There is no dedicated capital funding for non-profit and municipal homes, despite these homes having better outcomes for residents.  



What’s in the Budget: 

  • There is an increase in base funding for education, however in the budget, the numbers reported also include federal childcare funding. 
  • No meaningful increase that would offset challenges to per student funding.  
  • School boards are beginning to report deficits for the coming year, meaning there could be more cuts. 

Getting Back to Basics in Education 

  • $21.1M to expand the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) Reannouncement  
  • $15M for 2024-25 for digital math tools to provide ‘anytime’ access to learning (home and school). This announcement is part of the $72 million in total funding  for math supports  
  • $65M reannounced for educators kindergarten to Grade 3, this funding is part of the $100M for reading support.   
  • Reannouncement of the updated kindergarten curriculum, no monetary commitment  
  • $30M over 3 years for “enhancing school safety” - nothing about violence in schools 
  • Security cameras, lighting, vape detectors 
  • Stakeholder consultation underway, but at this stage there was no consultation on these measures   
  • Including learning about privacy and online safety in elementary and secondary curriculum.  

Supporting Students with Special Needs 

  • $18M to help the ‘most vulnerable students’ 
  • $8M for dedicated resources for students to navigate the school system 
  • $10M for in-class support for students with the highest level of need. However, there is no mention of support for additional staff which is required to address the need 
  • $120M into the Ontario Autism Program (double last years increase) -  
  • Commitment to enroll 20,000 children and youth in core clinical services. This number has been promised and not delivered for some time.   

Building Schools and Child Care Spaces 

  • $23B to building modern schools over 10 years  
  • Including $16B in capital grants to build and renew schools and child care spaces 
  • Page 18 table titled Infrastructure Expenditures ($ Millions) shows a decrease in education spending 2023-24: 3,316 – 2024-25: 3,350 – 2025-26: 3,173 – 2026-27: 3,025 
  • $1.4B for repairs and renewals for the current school year 
  • $1.8B higher in 2023-24 than reported in Q3 due to Bill 124 remedy settlements  
  • Education sector expenses projected to be $1,881M higher due to compensation costs due to Bill 124 remedy settlements and arbitration outcomes and “higher than forecasted” school board spending  

What’s missing: 

  • No concrete number for school repairs for 2024-25. The funding to repair schools is decreasing year over year.  
  • Meaningful investments into special education, $18M does not even cover the deficit for certain school boards  
  • 2022, the TDSB spent $67.6M  more on special education than what they received   
  • This year, more than half of secondary school principals (58%) and nearly two-thirds (63%) of elementary principals report that they have had to ask parents to keep their child with special needs home for the day. 
  • No new investments in student transportation which has been a challenge for school boards.  
  • No new money for increased mental health supports for students  
  • No new investments into capital repair backlog  
  • No commitment to increase staffing   
  • No restoration of per-student funding, that has fallen $1300 per student since 2018  
  • No full review of the education funding formula  
  • Specific investment in mental health for students and special education 

Post- Secondary Education 

What’s in the Budget: 

  • College and university base operating funding down $426M from 2023-24 interim spending at a time when almost half of Ontario universities are reporting deficits  
  • Increase from $12.6B in 2023-24 to $13.0B in 2026-27, due mainly to previous announcement of $903M 
  • increased spending on Health Human Resources initiatives ($485M) 
  • Lower forecasted college expenses 
  • $6.1B in PSE infrastructure spending over 10 years, including $2.2B in capital grants 
  • Minor increase in student financial assistance spending ($38.2M / < 3%) 
  • Sector expenses down $116M compared to 2023-24, mainly due to updates to forecasted expenses in the college sector as a result of the international study permit cap 
  • Re-announces $1.3B announced in February 
  • $128M over three years to support sustained enrolment increases in nursing 
  • Discusses Strengthening Accountability and Student Supports Act 
  • Reannounces York University medical school focusing on training family physicians, with no associated funding 

What’s missing  

  • With no investments in operating funding, this budget will have a huge negative impact on the almost half of Ontario universities that are running deficits and public colleges that are facing massive revenue losses because of international study caps. 
  • Ontario students needed to see expansions to the availability of OSAP to ensure equitable education opportunities, and there is nothing here to provide that. 
  • There is a $6.3B repair and maintenance backlog in public colleges and universities, and the funding provided here is not sufficient to meet the need.  
  • There is no commitment to supporting postsecondary student housing  



What’s in the Budget: 

  • No section on childcare, or any meaningful reference to the word childcare  
  • Mention of $16B in capital grants over 10 years to ‘build, expand and renew schools and childcare spaces’ 

What’s missing: 

  • Concrete numbers on creating new childcare spaces to achieve $10/day childcare 
  • No effort to repair the funding formula for childcare, which has left childcare operators at risk of closure 
  • No wage adjustments for childcare workers. The government previously announced increases the wage for early childhood educators to $23.86 and made no comment on the wages for non-ECEs. We have called for a salary scale starting at $25/hr for non-ECES, and $30/hr for ECEs  
  • No meaningful reference to capital spending in order to increase the amount of childcare spaces  
  • No new operating funds for childcare announced. Operators have been warning of closure if the province doesn’t soon revise funding.  

Jobs and Business Supports  

What’s in the Budget: 

  • Re-announcement of the Ontario Made Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit, announced in last year's budget  
  • Re-announces the 2022 Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Competitiveness Stream  
  • $100M in the Skills Development Fund Training Stream  
  • 16.5M over three years through the Skilled Trades Strategy  
  • Reannouncement on the governments' implementation of the Target Benefit Framework. This Framework has been underway since the Liberals. The government intends for the permanent target benefit framework to come into effect on January 1, 2025.  

What’s missing: 

  • No targeted business support to help with ongoing recovery  
  • Nothing to boost wages to create good jobs as we transition to a low-carbon economy

Transportation and Infrastructure 

What’s in the Budget: 

  • Re-announces a proposal to provide two-way all-day GO service to Milton. This would require an agreement with CP, which owns the corridor. There is no evidence that such an agreement is imminent, so it is unlikely Ontario can deliver on this promise 
  • Announces new Community Sport and Recreation Infrastructure Fund, with $200M over three years. 
  • Reannounces new Municipal Housing Infrastructure Program, with $1B over three years 
  • Reannounces enhanced Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund, with funding increased to $825M over three years, to help municipalities build or repair water infrastructure 
  • Reannounces another six-month extension of existing gasoline tax cut, which will now expire on December 31, 2024. This will cost $620M in foregone revenues 
  • The Ontario Infrastructure Bank will now be called the Building Ontario Fund  
  • There are quite significant increases in transit infrastructure spending, presumably due to the commencement of various previously announced projects 

What’s missing:

  • Confirmation of $67M over two years of funding for the OneFare/fare integration program.  
  • Base transportation funding is increasing only slightly.
  • No permanent funding for municipal transit operations. 
  • Evidence of progress or timelines on all-day two-way GO to Kitchener, Niagara, Bowmanville and Milton  
  • No timeline for when the Northlander rail service will resume 
  • No cost estimates for Highway 413 or Bradford Bypass 
  • No plan to eliminate Highway 407 tolls for truckers 

Energy and Environment 

What’s in the Budget: 

  • Reannounces expansion of Ontario Electricity Support Program, providing on-bill relief for low-income electricity consumers 
  • Announces an additional $86M over three years for the Northern Energy Advantage Fund (not sure if this is a new commitment) 

What’s missing: 

  • Funding to help people make their homes more energy efficient, transition to heat pumps 
  • A plan to compensate natural gas consumers for the higher rates the government will force them to pay due to Bill 165 
  • There is no plan to help low-income consumers who heat their homes with natural gas, oil, or propane, such as an OESP-like on-bill rate relief program for natural gas consumers 
  • There is no plan to rein in the underlying costs of the electricity system. Electricity subsidies are increasing to $7.3B, and the OESP expansion is likely a small part of this 
  • No plan for the revenues from Ontario’s carbon pricing system on industrial emitters 
  • Very little about mitigating or adapting to climate change to protect people and property from hazards caused by losses of wetlands and other natural heritage 

Municipal Affairs and Housing 

What’s in the Budget: 

  • Announces new Community Sport and Recreation Infrastructure Fund, with $200 million over three years. Presumably, municipalities will be able to apply, but this is not clear 
  • Reannounces new Municipal Housing Infrastructure Program, with $1 billion over three years, to help municipalities build roads, water systems, etc.  
  • Reannounces enhanced Housing-Enabling Water Systems Fund, with funding increased to $825M over three years, to help municipalities build or repair water infrastructure  
  • Announces $152M in additional funding over three years to help people facing unstable housing conditions or mental health/addiction challenges. It is not clear whether this new funding is part of the government’s existing commitments (eg: under the National Housing Strategy) or if it represents a new commitment. 

What’s missing: 

  • No “new deal” for municipalities similar to what Toronto got 
  • No major expansion in funding and other support for affordable and non-market housing (in fact, the federal government recently warned the Ford government that it was at risk of losing $357M in federal funding because of its failure to meet its existing commitments to social housing under the National Housing Strategy) 
  • The new funding for municipal infrastructure, even when added to the previously-announced $1.2 Building Faster Fund, is only over three years, and does not permanently replace the $1B per year in revenues that municipalities have lost due to Bill 23. The government had previously promised to make municipalities “whole” for such revenue losses. 
  • Housing starts are projected to decline once again this year from 89,300 (2023) to 87,900 (2024) (2024 Budget pg 6) 
  • The Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund remains frozen at about $500M. 


What’s being announced: 

  • Nothing 

What’s missing: 

  • No increase to Risk Management Program cap. In fact, planned spending for risk management programs is being decreased by $100M as compared to the interim actuals (note: these programs are demand-driven, so this reduction in planned spending could be attributable to changes in need, and is not necessarily a “cut.” We will get further details in the Estimates) 

Social Services  

What’s in the Budget: 

  • Projected increase to MCCSS budget of +$44M (million) due to OAP investment (see below), and Bill 124 costs  
  • New $120M for the Ontario Autism Program (’doubling the amount from last year’). The budget suggests this money is meant to help enroll (the government’s goal of) 20,000 children in core clinical services. Recent reporting, based on FOIs, suggests that as of December that over 17,000 (thousand) kids were enrolled, but enrollment and accessing services are two different things. Of those, only 1 in 5 children with autism has received funding for core clinical services. There was no mention the last two budget cycles.  
  • Anticipated increase in costs of ODSP (+$63M) and OW ($+30M) this year, due to 1% case increase (this caseload increase was anticipated after federal pandemic assistance programs were wound down in 2022-23). *There is no announced increase to assistance rates  
  • In a section detailing how MCCSS program spending is going up by less than 5 percent (pg. 158, pdf), from $19.4B to $20.1B it references that some amount of $310M is going toward operational costs for organizations that work with adults with developmental disabilities (along with groups that work with victims of violence and trafficking). It’s not clear how much of this is going to the DS sector, or to what groups.     

What’s missing: 

  • No new increases to social assistance rates   
  • No mention to Children’s Aid, or foster care (thereby no new funding) 
  • No specific or detailed reference to developmental services, Community Living (see above for more)  
  • No mention of developmental services or foster care 

Labour and Skills Training  

What’s in the Budget: 

  • Additional $100 million in the Skills Development Fund  
  • $62 million in foundational skilled trades programs (This is likely a re-announcement 
  •  of $62M from January)  
  • $21 million Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program  
  • $7.3M through the Skills and Development Fund for Indigenous workers in Nothern ON (8 training projects). *This appears to be a re-announcement from December 2023 
  • New $30M (million) over 3-years for Fire Protection Grant (to allow fire departments to buy protective equipment and decontamination tools)   
  • Budget projects -$118M (million) less in Ministry spending ‘due to revised timelines for Skills Development Funding’ (pg. 149)    

What’s missing: 

  • No mention in budget of WSIB  
  • No specific reference to assistance for wildland firefighters 
  • No meaningful increase to the minimum wage: the government previously announced the general minimum wage would increase to $16.65/hr as of October, 2024, increasing with inflation after that. Low wage worker advocates have called for a GMW of at least $20/hr   
  • No news on portable benefits. The government announced a consultation into providing portable benefits to workers without workplace benefits programs in 2021, based on the recommendation of the government hand-picked, Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee. The consultation period ended in December 2022 with no signs of a government program. 
  • No end to WSIB Deeming.  Bill 149, now law, contained ‘super indexing’ of WSIB rates for injured workers above inflation. The payout rate stays at 85%. Injured workers advocates, and Caucus, have long called for the WSIB practice of ‘deeming’ (workers to be able to work a job they don’t have) to be ended, and the payout rate to increase to 90% of earnings    
  • No permanent paid sick days: (Bethlenfalvy ruled out making this permanent leading into last year's budget) the temporary program was ended in March 2023  
  • No reference occupational illness coverage or reclassification for Wildland firefighters: leading into an early wildfire season Caucus advocated the government recognize wildland firefighters as firefighters in legislation, as well grant them presumptive coverage for occupational illnesses associated with firefighters. Instead, the government is giving them a one-time retention bonus of $5000 (thousand)* This may be referenced in the budget, but was announced earlier this month           


What’s in the Budget: 

  • Extending the gas tax cut, for the third time.  
  • Extending the tuition freeze 
  • Reannouncement of the GAINS benefit being indexed to inflation, and expanding the private eligibility threshold  
  • This was in the 2023 budget. That budget actually saw temporarily doubled GAINs payments, which the government has not continued.  
  • Reannouncement of the freezing of the beer tax  

Auto Insurance 

  • Re announces last year's commitment to allowing drivers to opt out of previously mandatory coverage called “direct compensation – property damage” which reimburses drivers for damage to their own vehicle in an accident that is not their fault  
  • Announcement that mandatory auto insurance accident benefit coverage will continue to apply to medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care benefits, while all other benefits would become optional.  
  • Requesting that FSRA work to ensure there is no unfair use of territorial ratings, and re-announce a pilot launched in Jan 2024 to modernize Ontario’s territory rating approach to support fairer pricing for auto insurance. 
  • Territorial ratings is what is referred to as the postal code method. Ending postal code discrimination has been a long-standing policy of the NDP  

What’s missing: 

  • Nothing to meaningfully address the real cost pressures people in Ontario are facing: the cost of groceries and housing  
  • No rent control  
  • No meaningful adjustments to ODSP and OW  


Equity Lens 

What’s in the Budget: 

  • Taking action to ensure women and children are better able to access culturally responsive care to strengthen the health of their families with investments of $50M over 3 years (including $24M over 3 years to the Indigenous Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program; $15M over 3 years for Mobile Maternal Care; $11M over 3 years to support safer births in Northern Ontario)  
  • $13.5M over 3 years to enhance initiatives that support women, children, youth and others who are at increased risk for violence/exploitation (Indigenous, racialized, in welfare system), appears to be new money 
  • $27M over 3 years to enhance Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence services across the province to help victims and survivors receive compassionate and professional support directly with hospital settings – funding will expand resources and support the expansion of the Provincial SA/DV Navigation Line to provide 24/7 care for victims/survivors  
  • $6.4M over 3 years to support Independent Legal Advice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Program and sustain and expand Child Victim Witness Support Program (compared to $41M over 3 years when first created) 

What’s missing: 

  • Nothing to address the education inequities observed In Ontario’s schools - (phrases “anti-black racism”, “racialized” not in budget... “equity” not mentioned in budget unless it’s with regard to finance) 
  • Nothing to address anti-black racism in schools/communities  
  • No new funding to address/combat hate crimes in Ontario 
  • No additional Legal Aid funding for clinics or Legal Aid Certificates (phrase “legal aid” and “backlog” not found) 
  • No support to address the high tuition fees incurred by international students in Ontario 
  • Despite ETFO submission below, no supports for ESL in schools  
  • Despite ETFO submission, no funding for mental health support for Black/racialized/Indigenous folks and low-income students  
  • No “inclusive” (“inclusion” is mentioned once re student safety on campus); “diversity” is mentioned once re York med school (“so doctors represent their diverse communities”) 
  • No additional funding for school boards to hire more counsellors, social workers, and school nurses that would specifically assist families and students from Black, racialized and Indigenous communities, as well as students living in low-income communities  


Northern Ontario  

What’s in the Budget: 

  • advancing the building of all season roads to the RoF to bring prosperity to FNs and Northern communities. This will “unlock the economic potential of the critical minerals that will power Ontario EVs battery supply chains.” 
  • bringing back the Northlander & restoring passenger rail service to Northern Ontario (reannouncement) 
  • increasing the Northern Energy Advantage Program (NEAP) to 167M in 2024/25 to 206M in 25/26, 26/27 to help eligible large industrial operators with their electrical costs. 
  • Increase of 5M for Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) awarded funding 
  • 94M for Indigenous and Northern communities over 3 years for programs that provide culturally responsive care tailored to the needs of these communities.  
  • investment of 50M over 3 years to recruit and retain health care workers in the north. 
  • Ring of Fire: $1B to the all season roads (old announcement – from 2014) 
  • declared community development agreements with Marten Falls and Webequie with no dollar figures, they must be for economic development opportunities (recent announcement from March 2024) 
  • Mining: Critical Minerals Innovation Fund (CIMF)- additional funding of 5M per year the next 3 years 
  • With an anticipated bad and early wildfire season this year, the Emergency Forest Fire budget is down a staggering -$81M. The amount in 2024-25 is listed as $135M, down from the current $216M. This despite a devastating year last year, and pressure from wildland firefighters to be reclassed and properly compensated. NOTE last year Smith maintained that this line item is fluid and goes up through the fire season. This still doesn’t excuse or explain this lower budgeted amount  
  • Natural Resources base funding increases from $666M (million) in 2023-24 to $680M this year. The biomass strategy of funding at $20M announced last spring has now been extended to a $20M annual amount (= $60M over 3 years) (pg. 31, pdf) 
  • There is no other Forestry Sector Strategy funding specified. No specific reference to aid for Terrace Bay mill workers 
  • $7.3M through the Skills and Development Fund for Indigenous workers in Nothern ON (8 training projects) This is a good program that needs to be sustained to grow the workforce.  
  • Re-announcement, from November 2023, of mere $5M (million) for a Community Emergency Preparedness Grant, for municipalities (province-wide) to access “resources and equipment” relating to natural and other emergencies (anything from floods, wildfires, and nuclear accidents). NOTE wider emergency preparedness fund, administered by Treasury Board is budgeted at $110M over 3-years       

What’s missing: 

  • Outside of the Ring of Fire there is no mention of major spending for infrastructure, highways or transit for northern Ontario. 
  • Greater investment in Highways 11/17, critical to the movement of goods and people across the north 
  • No new funding for winter roads impacted by climate crisis  
  • No mention of agriculture  
  • No funding for a standalone francophone school (Sudbury U)  
  • No significant increase in funding for the Northern Health Travel Grant   
  • No mention of Fairer Wages and reclassification for Forest Firefighters  
  • No investments into improving highways 11,17  
  • increased staffing inspection sites, staffed 24/7  
  • Investments into improving snow clearing times  
  • Investments into Highway 69  
  • No mention of operating grants for supervised consumption sites  
  • No investments into improving access to services in French  
  • No plan to help low-income consumers who heat their homes with natural gas, oil or propane  
  • Nothing to address climate action and help the forestry sector deal with upcoming fires  
  • No mention of increasing ODSP rates to meet inflation 


Indigenous Affairs

What’s in the Budget: 

  • Base funding for IAO increasing from 134M to 137M 
  • Decrease in total attributed to no planned treaty settlements from 2024 
  • 24M for Indigenous Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program over 3 years across 160 sites 
  • 11M over 3 years to support safer births in Northern ON, greater access to doulas and birth helpers 
  • 60M over 3 years to maintain mental health and addictions services (this is across Northern ON) 
  • 15M over 3 years to support Indigenous public health programs 
  • 11M over 3 years for foot complications from diabetes for Indigenous people 
  • 8M over 3 years to strengthen prevention initiatives in Indigenous communities (smoking, diabetes and chronic disease) 

What’s missing: 

  • Funding for the implementation of the Community Safety and Policing Act for First Nations police services



Tourism, Culture, Sport: 

What’s in the Budget 

  • Base funding for the Ministry has increased +$30M up from $840M in 2023-24 to projected $870.2M this year   
  • $200M in new funding for a Community Sport and Recreation Fund (it’s not clear what Ministry will administer – it doesn’t appear as a line item for MTCS)    

What’s missing: 

  • There are only a few references to tourism and no specific new funding announcements 
  • There is no reference to “the arts” in terms of new program spending. There is a note attached to a table (3.12 ‘Infrastructure Expenditures’) that references ‘tourism industries’ but no details 
  • There are no references to festivals, or festival funding. Recently Caucus Critic has raised that a number of prominent festivals (Just for Laughs, HotDocs, Taste of Danforth and so on) have seen no new provincial investment   
  • No specific funding for advertising of tourism regions, which was a request of the Tourist Industry Association (TIAO). This week it was revealed that the government has spent $8M (million) on its ‘It’s Happening Here’ campaign, directed at Ontarians primarily to tout government programs auto 
  • TIAO is also looking for a government plan to ensure international students can continue to live and study in the province, as a main source of labour for tourism sector. This after the federal government drastically reduced the number of eligible international students in the province by half in January      


What’s in the Budget: 

  • $5.9B budget  
  • Discusses improving technology and security in courthouses, no detail provided 
  • Discusses building new courthouses, no details provided 
  • $27M over 3 years to enhance sexual assault and domestic violence services 
  • Provide centres with “additional clinical resources” 
  • Extend the reach of services to hospitals currently not in the network 
  • Expand the Provincial Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Navigation Line 
  • $6.4M over 3 years to support the Independent Legal Advice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Program and expand the Child Victim Witness Support Program 
  • Re Independent Legal Advice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Program - this is “legal advice”, NOT legal representation.  It is also a voucher system, victims are required to contact lawyers once they have been approved for the program. 
  • $4.5M of 3 years to improve the Victim Quick Response Program+ 
  • Reminder that this is a program of last resort – victims must access other publicly available programs/services before the VQRP+, even if there is a long waitlist for other publicly available programs/services 
  • $31M over 3 years to support the Provincial Joint Forces Cannabis Enforcement Teams – combatting “illegal cannabis” 
  • $46M over 3 years to “support patrol and improve response times to major incidents and serious crimes, including the purchase of four helicopters” in the GTA 
  • $49M over 3 years to “combat auto theft”, including (may be partly re-announcement, $51M over 3 years was announced in May 2023) 
  • Support for the OPP Organized Crime Towing and Auto Theft Team  
  • Support for the GTA/Greater Golden Horseshoe Investigate Fund 
  • The Preventing Auto Thefts Grant – projects that feature new and enhanced crime-fighting measures 
  • Support for the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario to create an anti-auto-theft campaign focusing on consumer awareness and auto theft prevention 

What’s missing: 

  • No improvements to Legal Aid program, changes to financial threshold, improved services under legal certificates 
  • “Legal aid” is not mentioned once in the budget 
  • No reversal of the cuts to legal aid  
  • No mention of bail.  No increased funding for Bail Verification and Supervision Program, bail beds, rehabilitation and diversion programs, etc.  
  • “Bail” is not mentioned in the budget. 
  • No funding to improve/expand services at Tribunals, clear Tribunal backlogs, improve staffing, return to in-person hearings as a default 
  • “Tribunal” is not mentioned once in the budget 
  • No dedicated funding to hire more court staff, retain court staff, reduce court back logs 
  • No dedicated funding to reopen closed borough/regional Toronto court houses 
  • No funding for expanded Unified Family Courts 


Mining/Ring of Fire: 

What’s in the Budget: 

  • No new announcements. Same reference to $1B that dates back to Liberal commitment in 2014 
  • $15M for Critical Minerals Infrastructure Fund (CMIF) over 3-years. This amounts to status quo investment in the fund (of $5M annually) it is not clear if this is matching funds for the $15M announced by the federal government for the federal CMIF earlier this month 
  • Re-announcement of $500,000 (thousands) to mining companies from the Critical Minerals Innovation Fund from last year 

What’s missing: 

  • No new announcements relating to RoF or funding for consultation with impacted FN outside of Webequie and Marten Falls 
  • Funding for consultation for First Nations from the first stage of the mining process (early exploration) 
  • Government recently announced agreements with two (of nine) Matawa First Nations for all-reason road construction that would lead to proposed RoF area. Like the Liberals before them the Ford government is no closer to necessary agreements with other impacted First Nations (FNs) leading into RoF 
  • Despite this, the government has not increased the amount earmarked to, “support critical legacy infrastructure in the Ring of Fire area including constructing all‑season roads, investing in high-speed internet, road upgrades and community supports” beyond the “nearly” $1B (billion) amount the Liberals committed to in 2014. Industry analysts now have the amount needed as 3 and 4 times greater than that amount  
  • Caucus and First Nations will be looking for serious investment in infrastructure and the funds ($) necessary for consultation tables to be struck with all impacted FN  


Francophone Affairs:

What’s in the Budget: 

  • $5.3 million increase to total expense ($0.6 million in base funding, $4.7 million in time-limited investments) 
  • $6.8 million over two years will include funding to support the Federation des gens d’affaires francophones de l’Ontario to help Francophone entrepreneurs start and grow businesses 
  • Working with the federal government to renew Canada-Ontario Agreement on Minority-Language Services and would invest $10 million over three years to expand the delivery of quality French-language services 

What’s missing: 

  •   No funding for the university of Sudbury’s standalone French university